Vic recycler fined over worker's lost hand

·1-min read

A collapsed Victorian recycler has been fined $70,000 after a worker's hand was amputated at a Melbourne factory.

The 36-year-old employee was strapping bales of crushed aluminium at SKM's Coolaroo factory in 2014 when their right hand was amputated.

The baler machine is used to crush aluminium recycling into a cube and a WorkSafe investigation found the company did not have a fitted guard on it to prevent access to the exit point.

SKM Services was last week convicted in Broadmeadows Magistrates Court, of failing, as far as was reasonably practicable, to provide a safe workplace.

The group, which went into liquidation in August 2019 before being taken over by waste company Cleanaway, was ordered to pay a fine of $70,000.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Andrew Keen said it would not hesitate to prosecute businesses that don't provide a safe workplace.

"Sadly, as a result of this incident, a worker has suffered severe injury with lifelong consequences," he said in a statement on Monday.

"There is no excuse for employers who risk workers' safety by ignoring their health and safety obligations."

A fire at SKM's Coolaroo recycling plant in 2017 spewed smoke over the city's north and caused the evacuation of surrounding homes and businesses.

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