Visy Board fined $375,000 after worker sustains crush injuries

Visy Board was recently fined $375,000 in the NSW District Court after an employee sustained crush injuries to his left ankle following a workplace incident where the ruling found the risk of injury was “patently obvious.”

SafeWork NSW launched the prosecution after a 25 June 2020 incident where a man employed by Visy was working on a conveyor at the company’s Smithfield worksite when he unknowingly stepped into the path of a trolley car.

This trolley car hit the worker’s left leg, causing it to be trapped between the trolley car and conveyor, crushing his left ankle.

The worker underwent multiple surgical procedures on his left ankle and foot. Following the surgical procedures, the worker’s left leg was surgically amputated below the knee due to an infection.

A risk assessment was carried out at the worksite around six months earlier, which raised concerns regarding ‘crush/pinch points between the edge of the trolley car and conveyors corners.’

The assessment outlined solutions which were not implemented by Visy despite acknowledging the risk was ‘unacceptable.’

The judge found that the injury, emotional harm, loss and damage caused by the offence was substantial.

“Visy were aware of the danger their employees were working in and, despite being given steps to eliminate or minimise the risk, did not act appropriately to address the risk,” said head of SafeWork NSW Trent Curtin.

“Mobile plant, including trolley cars, have the potential to seriously injure or kill people. Workplaces need to identify risks such as where mobile plant might interact with people and design their workplace layout so that vehicles and pedestrians are separate wherever possible.”