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A company has been fined $120,000 after a worker’s skull was pierced with a steel bar.

The 18-year-old worker was operating an excavator on a demolition job in August 2013 when the incident occurred. As he filled the excavator’s sifting bucket with concrete and steel, a steel bar flew into the cabin of the excavator, pieced his skull and penetrated 10cm into his brain.

SafeWork NSW investigated and found that the excavator was operated with the glass front screen open—and that the supervisor had observed the worker operating the excavator with it open prior to the incident but failed to instruct the operator to close it.

The company, NMK Pty Ltd, was prosecuted in the District Court of New South Wales (NSW), found guilty and fined $120,000 for breaching the NSW Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

“The risk of an excavator operator being struck by a flying object and the need to shut the front safety screen during excavation is widely known and understood within the demolition and excavation industry,” executive director of SafeWork NSW (formerly WorkCover NSW), Peter Dunphy said in a media statement.

“Fortunately the worker did not suffer a significant brain injury as a result of the incident but the outcome could have been very different.”

For more details, visit SafeWork NSW

Published on 22 October 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email. Subscribe online today.

A residential care service in New Zealand has been prosecuted and fined after a 15-year-old teenager with multiple disabilities drowned in a bath.

Nathan Booker had profound intellectual and physical disabilities. In January last year, while he was in respite care at an Idea Services facility, he drowned after being left unattended in the bath, according to WorkSafe New Zealand in a media statement.

Following the incident, Idea Services was prosecuted in the Palmerston North District Court under the New Zealand Health and Safety in Employment Act for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure no action or inaction of an employee harmed another person.

The company pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay reparation of $90,000 and fined $63,500.

“Nathan was a young man with complex needs. He was not capable of bathing himself. His care documents stated that he required ‘full support’ and his care plan said that he must be ‘supervised at all times’. He simply should not have been left alone in the bath,” said WorkSafe New Zealand’s chief inspector, Keith Stewart, in a media statement.

“If Nathan had been fully supervised and not left alone during his bath this tragedy is unlikely to have occurred. This case should serve as a wake-up call to the residential care sector to ensure that they fully assess and manage the risks of services such as bathing people with complex needs.”

For more details, visit WorkSafe New Zealand

Published on 12 March 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin.


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