Lack of guard leaves man with fractured arm


A Muchea hay processing plant has been fined $10,000 over an incident in which an employee’s arm was fractured when it was caught in a hay baling machine.

Hay Australia pleaded guilty to failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment, and was fined in the Joondalup Magistrates Court.

Hay Australia’s main business is breaking down large bales of hay into smaller bales for export via a hay process line.

The process involves large bales which are fed into one end of the plant, where they are broken down and made into smaller bales, which are then strapped and sent through a metal detector and x-ray machine.

Good bales are sent to the main accumulator, where they are pushed by hydraulic rams into stacks, which are picked up by forklift. Rejected bales are sent to the reject accumulator where they are also pushed by hydraulic rams into separate stacks and picked up by forklift.

The incident occurred in January 2008, when a shift supervisor noticed a blockage at the reject accumulator, where bales were falling to the ground and banking up on the conveyor.

The shift supervisor and another employee tried to rectify the problem, the employee holding back a number of bales on the conveyor while the shift supervisor steadied a bale on the reject accumulator.

After the ram had pushed the bales out of the accumulator, the bale being held by the shift supervisor fell and caught his sleeve. The ram pulled his arm down between it and the side of the accumulator, according to WorkSafe.

As the ram returned to its original position, it caught the shift supervisor’s right forearm and fractured it.

Acting WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said the case was yet another reminder of the importance of guarding machinery and locking it out before attempting repairs or maintenance.

“In this case, the ram was insufficiently guarded and had not been isolated, locked or tagged out prior to the workers’ activity,” McCulloch said.

From Safe To Work.

Author: Safe To Work

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