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Death machine 'deplorably unsafe'

 

A 40-year-old boring machine that claimed the life of an 18-year-old apprentice was "deplorably unsafe", a coroner has found.

South Australian coroner Mark Johns criticised the system of leaving industrial safety to employers and has called for a review in the prosecution process for offending companies.

Mr Johns was giving his findings yesterday into the death of Daniel Madeley, who was killed in 2004 after his dustcoat got caught in the unguarded horizontal borer at Diemould Tooling Services in Adelaide, dragging him into the gigantic drill and flinging him around.

The teenager suffered injuries to every part of his body, his brain bled severely, his spine was lacerated, his arms and legs were broken and both his feet were severed.

In 2009 Diemould was fined $72,000 in the South Australian Industrial Court after pleading guilty to a breach of workplace safety laws.

Mr Johns said he could simply not understand how such a workplace as Diemould existed in South Australia in 2004.

He said the boring machine had been operated at Diemould for years "in a condition which could only be described as deplorably unsafe".

"It could have been guarded but was not. It could have had a braking system but did not. It could have had an automated lubrication system but did not. Employees using the machine could have been prohibited from wearing dust coats but were not," Mr Johns said.

"Many other things could have been done but any one of these would have been sufficient to save Mr Madeley's life."

The dead man's mother, Andrea Madeley, said her gut instinct always told her that the machine was dangerous.

"I know that Danny was working at night-time, in the middle of the night, on the horizontal borer by himself in that factory," she said.

"I know that because he told me.

"That, in itself, was just so painfully dangerous."

In his findings, Mr Johns said the system of leaving industrial safety to employers and then simply prosecuting once a worker was killed was inadequate and insufficient.

He said a rigorous system of inspections would be far more effective and also called for a better system of accountability to be developed to speed up the process.

The coroner suggested family members be given the option of having a death subject to an inquest rather than the usual criminal process.

"In my opinion it is just wrong that the prosecution of Diemould took five years to arrive at a guilty plea," he said.

"There must be a way to improve that."

From The Courier Mail.

Author: The Couier Mail

Tags: User:Teacher;User:Student;Manufacturing;Using machinery;Causes of OHS incidents;News items