Recycling company enters into $295,000 enforceable undertaking

A recycler and waste management company has committed to spend $295,000 to improve safety outcomes after a worker fell four metres through a steel grate at the company’s West Melbourne sorting plant.

The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court heard Bingo (Vic) had entered into an enforceable undertaking while facing a charge of failing to provide necessary information, instruction, training or supervision to enable employees to work safely.

WorkSafe may reinstate the charge if the undertaking is contravened or withdrawn.

In March 2021, a worker was cleaning dust and debris from the roof of a blower cage at the sorting plant when he stepped from the nearby designated walkway onto the caged roof and a panel gave way.

The worker fell to the floor below, suffering broken ribs, three dislodged discs and vision damage.

WorkSafe Victoria alleged it was necessary for Bingo to instruct workers not to clean the blower cage roof, and/or to provide workers with the manual to understand the maintenance requirements and general safety measures while working with the recycling plant.

The estimated $295,000 undertaking requires the company to:

  • Develop a public education campaign about safe disposal of emerging hazardous wastes, such as silica dust and devices containing lithium-ion batteries.
  • Design, install, commission and trial an advanced biodegradable dust suppression system.
  • Undertake a pilot program for proximity sensor systems for six front end loaders used at sites in West Melbourne, Braeside, Clarinda and Campbellfield.
  • Sponsor the development of an OHS Body of Knowledge chapter on contractor management.
  • Donate $20,000 to the Amy Gillet Foundation’s ‘Safe Roads for Safe Cycling’ initiative (recognising the frequency of Bingo drivers encountering cyclists on the road).
  • Provide funding for 20 truck drivers in Victoria’s waste management industry to receive road user safety training from the Amy Gillet Foundation.

WorkSafe Victoria executive director of health and safety, Narelle Beer, said the risks of working at heights were well known.

“Working at heights can be incredibly dangerous, and employers must do everything they can to eliminate or reduce those risks – including making sure workers have the proper instruction and training to work safely,” Beer said.

“While any fall can lead to injury, the risk of serious injury or death increases significantly when working at heights above two metres.”