A Western Australian grain co-operative has been ordered to pay more than $40000 after insufficient guarding on machinery led to a worker being so badly injured she had to have one finger amputated.
The woman was working at the Co-operative Bulk Handling Group’s grain terminal in Bodallin in February 2014 and was helping to move a stacker/loader when her right hand fell onto a rail and the tripper wheel ran over it.
Her hand was so severely injured that she needed three operations, including one to amputate her little finger, which had curled over and caused constant pain.
She was also left with no feeling in her ring finger, which caused difficulty when gripping objects.
CBH pleaded guilty in a Western Australian court to failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment and, by that failure, causing serious harm to an employee.
The group was fined $37500 plus $3577 in costs.
The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety said the tripper wheel was guarded, but the guard was upside down and incorrectly fitted on the wrong side of the wheel.
In December 2014, CBH installed a new design of tripper wheel guard at all of its 197 sites in WA, costing about $1million.
DMIRS acting deputy director of general safety Simon Ridge said last week that if the new guards had been installed on all tripper wheels sooner, the worker would have been spared a great deal of suffering.
A CBH spokesperson said the group was committed to the safety of its employees, but conceded there was a failure in this instance.
‘‘We deeply regret the incident and that one of our employees was harmed,’’ the spokesperson said said.