Rochester silo manufacturing company fined after crush injury led to foot amputation


A Rochester silo manufacturing company has been fined $30,000 after a man’s foot was crushed by a mobile crane, leading to its amputation.

Lindsay F Nelson Manufacturing Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Echuca Magistrates’ Court to two charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, related to failing to provide and maintain work systems that would prevent pedestrians colliding with the crane, and failing to provide adequate training.

In addition to the $30,000 fine, the company was also ordered to pay $3430 in costs.

The court heard that on March 7 last year, a crane driver at the Kyabram Road site was using a mobile crane to transport 12 sections of steel that were each between six and 10 metres long.

He asked a co-worker to walk alongside the crane to balance the steel sections with his hand.

The court heard that worker had walked up to 20 metres alongside the crane when he stumbled and fell, and the crane ran over his leg.

He suffered a fractured hip socket and a crushed foot, and was taken to Bendigo Health where his foot was amputated.

WorkSafe’s investigation found the workplace’s usual procedure for transporting stays with the crane involved an employee stabilising them by hand and walking alongside the crane – as had occurred in this case – which placed workers at risk.

It was also revealed that while the injured employee had worked at the company for 12 months, he had not received any instruction or training about the hazards and risks associated with working in close proximity to mobile plant or stabilising loads.

The company had no documented job safety assessments, safe work procedures, safe work method statements or maintenance records in relation to the mobile crane.

The court heard that since the incident, the company had employed an occupational health and safety officer, created safe work documents and no longer used the mobile crane.

It now uses an overhead factory bridge crane or a private crane company.

Marnie Williams, WorkSafe’s executive director of health and safety, said the worker’s injury could have been avoided had the company followed standard industry safety procedures.

“(The company) failed to train its workers and it failed to have appropriate safety processes in place - and followed - for high risk work,” Ms Williams said.

“Putting workers in harm’s way by asking them to stabilise heavy loads by hand while walking in close proximity to a mobile crane is appalling and totally unacceptable.”

Ms Williams said powered mobile machinery was a leading cause of death and serious injury in workplaces in Victoria, but every incident was preventable.