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Candy company fined $20,000 over unguarded machine

21 February, 2008

An Osborne Park manufacturer of rock candy has been fined $20,000 for failing to provide a safe workplace after a worker’s finger was severely injured in an unguarded machine.

Baralda Pty Ltd – trading as Perth Candy Company – pleaded guilty to failing to provide and maintain a safe workplace, and by that failure, causing serious harm to an employee, and was fined in the Perth Magistrates Court on Monday.

In June 2005, an employee of Perth Candy Company was cutting candy with a humbug cutting machine consisting of guide rollers and a set of horizontal and vertical blades which chopped the candy rope into a humbug shape.

The candy jammed in the guide rollers and the employee reached with his left hand to unjam the spinning wheels of the guide roller.

As he did this, his right hand accidentally touched the unguarded horizontal and vertical blades and was pulled into them. The machine continued to crush and chop his fingers as it would the candy.

He pushed the emergency stop button with his left hand and the machine stopped cutting, but his middle finger was trapped up to the middle knuckle, and it took between 15 minutes and half an hour to dismantle the machine and free the man’s finger.

His right middle finger was severely injured and his right ring finger was severely lacerated. The middle finger was initially repaired, but it proved unsuccessful and the finger was later amputated at the middle knuckle.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Nina Lyhne today expressed her disappointment that the message on machinery guarding still did not appear to be getting through to employers.

“Occupational safety and health legislation has required the guarding of moving parts of machinery for a very long time now, and we should not have to remind employers of their obligations in this area,” Lyhne said.

“Guarding is one of the easiest and most obvious means of minimising the risk of injury to machinery operators, and the cost of installing guarding is far less than the cost in human and economic terms of a serious injury to a worker.

“In this particular case, a worker has suffered a serious and permanent injury in an incident that could have been prevented with the installation of a guard over the moving blades.

“The potential hazards of moving machinery parts without guarding are very real, and this court case and the fine imposed reflect the fact that guarding is essential in any workplace.”


Further information on machinery guarding can be obtained by telephoning WorkSafe on 9327 8777 or on the website at www.worksafe.wa.gov.au.

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