A Bendigo company has been fined $20,000 after one of its employees had two of his fingertips cut off while working.
Keech Foundry Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Bendigo Magistrates' Court to failing to provide a safe system of work in relation to the incident in July last year.
The injured worker was undertaking a task that involved combining a powder and water in a mixer which included a four-blade auger.
A gate would then be opened to let the mixture flow down a guarded chute into a wheelbarrow, although blockages were common.
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On the day in question, the worker put his hand through a gap in the chute guard to loosen the mixture when he sliced the tips of two fingers off on the auger.
The guard was in poor condition, and Keech had failed to provide a safe system of work by ensuring there was a standard procedure in place to clear blockages in the chute.
WorkSafe inspectors attended the scene and issued a prohibition notice concerning the mixer.
Later that day a new guard was installed and the prohibition notice was lifted.
Through its plea, Keech acknowledged it had not maintained a safe system of work that ensured the mixer would be turned off, a lock out, tag out procedure was in place, and the gate was closed before any attempt was made to clear the blockage.
But the court heard the business had been operating about 80 years and had no prior occupational health and safety matters.
Keech undertook significant measures to address the issue, including retraining all employees and documenting the safe operating procedure.
Executive general manager Brad Clark said the company had upwards of 500 safe operating procedures in place, and as a result of this incident, had undertaken a full review.
"We, Keech, obviously consider the safety of our employees as our key priority," Mr Clark said.
The injured employee's fingertips were reattached and he returned to work with the company.
Keech was fined $20,000 plus $3904 in costs, but no conviction was recorded.
If not for the company's guilty plea, the fine would have been $40,000.
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