Company fined after worker seriously injured

Company appears, via video link, in Rockingham Magistrates Court
Date: Monday, 18 October 2021

Kununurra-based company, Guerinoni Nominees Pty Ltd (Guerinoni), was today fined $230,000 plus costs of $75,000 in the Rockingham Magistrates Court after an employee suffered serious injuries while operating an alluvial screening and crushing plant.

The company pleaded not guilty but was convicted for failing to provide a safe work environment and causing serious harm to an employee.

In June 2016, the worker used a tool to reach into the plant’s conveyor to clear a rock rotating in the nip point of the tail-end pulley. The moving belt had not been switched off and isolated.

Both of the employee’s arms were drawn into the pinch point causing serious injuries to his arms and back. He managed to free himself when the tail-end pulley came to a stop, and was then able to seek emergency assistance.

The conveyor did not have physical guarding to prevent access to its moving parts.

The employee worked alone, without the necessary supervision, and there was no isolation procedure for the plant. These factors, along with a lack of employee training to operate the equipment, meant Guerinoni did not comply with the most basic safety practices.

Acting Mines Safety Director at the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety Sally North said the danger was extreme.

“The possibility of a serious injury or death is obvious, so mine operators must provide adequate guarding to the dangerous parts of a conveyor,” Ms North said.

“Employers must also confirm that workers conducting cleaning, maintenance and repair work are adequately instructed, trained, assessed and supervised.

“Failure to do so may expose their employees to unacceptable risks.”

Ms North said there were a number of recommended actions to minimise risks while working around conveyors.

“Mining operators should install sufficient and effective guarding, undertake a risk assessment on all machinery to identify hazards, enforce suitable isolation and emergency procedures and ensure adequate communication systems and supervision for people working alone.”