Worker’s gruesome injuries after arm mangled in metal shredder

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
3 Min Read

One of Australia’s largest scrap metal exporters was fined $40,000 last week after a worker got his arm stuck in a shredder. 

Manhari International metal recyclers in Melbourne was handed the punishment without conviction for failing to adequately address work safety risks in the lead-up to the accident. 

The worker’s arm was dragged into the metal shredding machine used to separate, compact and cut materials after he fell forward onto its conveyor belt.

The contractor sustained permanent severe injuries as a result of the incident, including losing the full use of his lower arm and hand.

He subsequently has lost partial function of that limb as well as broken bones and significant skin loss, needing multiple skin grafts.   

WorkSafe Victoria investigators found that the factory-supplied side guarding had been removed from the conveyor and that no guarding was in place to protect workers at the time of the incident.

The essential safety apparatus had been removed from the machinery despite exposed parts being identified as a critical safety risk just a year prior. 

How to manage machinery safety risks:

  • Identify hazards, assess risks, and eliminate or control them.  
  • Train staff in safely operating machines and equipment.
  • Develop and implement safe operating procedures. 
  •  Provide written safety procedures in the worker’s first language.
  • Consultation with employees about health and safety risks.
  • Use lower-risk machinery when possible. 
  • Ensure safety guards and gates are compliant and permanently fixed. 
  • Regularly service and inspect machines and equipment.
  • Place signs near machines to alert employees of operational dangers.

The court heard that Manhari International could have reduced the risks by not removing the factory-supplied guarding, installing guarding over sections of the conveyor belts, and having a safe work procedure that required workers to ensure guards were fitted.

WorkSafe Executive Director Health and Safety Narelle Beer said the incident was particularly unfortunate due to its preventable nature.

“Safety guarding on plant and machinery is crucial to keeping everyone in the workplace safe and reducing the very real risk of death or serious injury – so it beggars belief that anyone would allow such a machine to operate without this in place,” Dr Beer said.

“In this case, a worker has suffered a traumatic and life-changing injury that, sadly, could and should have been prevented.”

Share This Article
Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.