WorkSafe Prosecution Corner

25 Sep 2018

The processing plant received a fine of almost $220,000 and was ordered to pay reparations for $60,000 to the worker following the incident in 2017. 

A worker had to have his eye removed after an incident involving a corrosive cleaning product. The worker was decanting a cleaning product when a piece of tubing flicked him in the eye. The corrosive product and the impact of the tubing left him with damage so significant that his eye had to be removed. The resulting scarring also meant the victim could not be fitted with a prosthetic eye.

WorkSafe said the worker should not have needed to decant the cleaning product and that a safer system of work would have avoided the incident all together.

An investigation found that it would have been reasonably practicable for the cleaning product to have been hardwired and plumbed for use, meaning workers would not have to handle the product themselves.

The company had also failed to identify risks and put in place suitable controls, failed to ensure the availability of suitable personal protective equipment and failed to have an effective system in place to monitor the use of that equipment.

"Protective equipment should not be the go to safety solution for using hazardous substances. If there is a smarter and safer way of doing a job, and it is reasonably practicable for it to be implemented then that is the expectation of the Health and Safety at Work Act," said WorkSafe's deputy general manager for operations and specialist services, Simon Humphries.

Key Takeaway

  • Always consider if there is a way to eliminate or minimise risk
  • Work processes should be reviewed regularly to see if there are safer ways of working and better controls that could be implemented

Risk management is vital to managing health and safety, no matter the industry. Learn more about our Risk Management course.