Australian tire recycler fined over worker’s fingers amputation
Due to an accident at a tire recycling plant in Welshpool which resulted in amputation of worker’s fingers by a shredder, a company was fined $80,000.
Elan Energy Management Pty Ltd was found guilty for not providing a safe workplace for its employees which caused serious harm to a worker. The recycler was fined by the Perth Magistrates Court this week.
The accident happened last September, when four employees of Elan Energy cut tires to reduce them in size using a mobile shredder on a trailer. Reportedly, following instructions of their company, one employee was responsible for a control panel, two – for loading tire on a conveyor, and yet another one was responsible for controlling out-feed, he stood on the trailer and ensured that conveyor belt kept clearing and didn’t get blocked.
The employees saw that the out-feed was frequently blocked – some 10 times per hour. To tackle the problem, the worker at the controls would reverse the shredder. Sometimes, to make machinery work properly again, they had to pull the wedged rubber. Thus, the cutters had to be stopped and the out-feed conveyor kept running.
On the day when the incident happened, the seventeen-year-old employee standing on the trailer saw that a long piece of rubber stuck in the out-feed. Therefore, he signaled the controller to reverse the shredder. Feeding the piece of rubber back into the shredder with his right hand, he held the side of the out-feed with the left hand. Unfortunately, rubber piece was pulled into the shredder swiftly and worker’s right hand was pulled with it. All fingers of his right hand we amputated by the shredder whereas his right thumb proved unsalvageable after a surgery which aimed to reattach it.
Lex McCulloch, a Commisionner of WorkSafe WA, asserts that the case was yet another reminder to the representatives of industry that it is extremely important to guard the moving parts of the equipment. Information on safeguarding of machinery and ensuing safe workflow in tire recycling in Australia can be found on the website http://www.worksafe.wa.gov.au/
Article by ASSSA.