Courtesy of the Portner Press Health and Safety Bulletin comes the story of 'an unguarded moment (Who out there remembers 'The Church') costing an employer $75,000 in Fines alone.
Four items feature regularly in workplace health and safety accidents – forklifts, ladders, quad bikes and angle grinders.
Today, we feature a serious accident cause by an unguarded angle grinder.
Mr Steven Zappia, an employee of Carroll Springs Pty Ltd (Carroll Springs), was using an unguarded angle grinder with an oversize disc when he was struck on the left shoulder and face by the cutting disc, causing an 8cm long gash on his face and a fractured cheekbone.
When the accident occurred, in May 2015, Mr Zappia was beneath a Toyota Landcruiser removing metal brackets with the angle grinder in order to fit a new suspension spring kit.
He was sitting down on the ground with his arms outstretched at approximately head height. He was wearing safety glasses and was holding the angle grinder approximately 40 cm in front of his face when the angle grinder either kicked back or the disc shattered.
The impact caused a deep laceration (in some areas down to the bone) on the left side of Mr Zappia's face and a fractured cheekbone. The cut ran from the corner of Mr Zappia's eye to the bottom of his cheek.
He was taken by ambulance to hospital, where he underwent surgery on his facial wound.
Mr Zappia returned to work approximately four weeks later on a graduated work plan. He resigned from the company later that year.
The angle grinder
The angle grinder was meant to be fitted with a cutting disc no larger than 125mm diameter, but was fitted with a 150mm disc, which was rated for a slower speed (10,200rpm max). The grinder had a safety label on it stating to use accessories rated at least 12,000 min/RPM.)
The larger disc could be fitted because the grinder’s guard had been removed by a former employee, before Mr Zappia had begun working for Carroll Springs.
Mr Zappia testified that he did not know where the guard was located. He also said there were no 125mm discs for the angle grinder in the workshop at the time of the incident and that the 150mm disc that was on the angle grinder was the only option available for that grinder, although the workshop manager contested this statement.
At the time of the incident Carroll Springs had not developed and implemented a safe system of work for the use of angle grinders or how to select the correct grinding or cuttings discs for angle grinders. Also, manufacturer's instructions for the angle grinder were located in a drawer in the supervisor's office at the premises and were not readily accessible to workers.
Prior to the incident the company conducted general inspections of the workplace every two to three months to identify safety hazards but did not include an individual inspection of each power tool. At the time of an inspection of 31 March 2015, the angle grinder was kept in a locked cupboard away from where the tools were normally kept and therefore was not inspected.
Lack of safety management
The company’s lack of a safety management system was criticised by the judge, including:
He found the offender’s level of culpability was in the upper end of the low range.
The company’s owner expressed deep regret and remorse that the incident occurred and cooperated fully with SafeWork and continued to have an involvement with SafeWork through the Mentor Program and the Leadership Forum.
Carroll Sprints, having a previous good health and safety record, was convicted and fined $100,000 (reduced to $75,000 for an early guilty plea) and was ordered to pay the prosecutors’ costs. The maximum penalty for the offence is a fine of $1.5 million.
Learning from other’s mistakes
Not providing a safe workplace can be costly, but it can also have other ramifications on the business if a worker is injured.
Apart from hefty fines, output can be reduced or work can stop altogether. Morale can plummet and attracting or keeping the best workers can also be difficult if they believe your workplace is not safe or that you, as an employer, do not rate their safety highly.
Some interesting and timely advice courtesy of Vero and Fire Protection Association Australia.
A best practice guide to replacing services currently provided by the existing copper network. Please see 1 page summary here.
Apparently the NBN does not work during a power failure so it is important that an alternative monitoring solution is in place to ensure reliability.
well the dust seems to have settled on the 'Wannacry' and 'Petya" attacks with little effect on Australian business.
the risk you face from cyber attacks has certainly not abated. the graphic above released by the Australian Government involves data from 2014. as concerning as the figures are, there can be no doubt that current statistics would be far worse, and that many losses currently go unreported. the real picture is undoubtedly much more serious than the image shows.
something you may have missed is the new mandatory data breach regime. What is it you say? new legislation that requires businesses to report any suspected data breach to the Government and anyone whose data may have been effected.
so imagine your business suspects that data has been breached. how do you go about telling your customers, without ruining your reputation? if you don't report the breach you will be liable to hefty fines (up to $1.8M for a Company!).
what if you are the victim of ransomware? how do you know if you should pay the ransom? who do you turn to for help? will your local IT guy have the expertise to deal with it? how much will it cost to restore your system and data?
fortunately there is an affordable solution. Cyber Insurance.
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