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Worker loses leg after horrific accident

EMERGENCY SERVICES
A worker lost his foot as a result of a horrific workplace crush incident, leading to a major recycling company being fined thousands.

A major recycling company has been lashed with a hefty fine after a worker’s ankle was crushed in a horrific accident, leading to his leg being surgically amputated.

Australian recycler Visy has been fined $375,000 in the NSW District Court after SafeWork NSW prosecuted the company over the employee’s injury at one of its Sydney-based worksites on June 25, 2020.

Visy employee Zoran Stojanovski was working on a conveyor at the company’s Smithfield site when he unknowingly stepped into the path of an oncoming trolley car.

His ankle was crushed when the trolley car hit his left leg, trapping it between the car and the conveyor.

EMERGENCY SERVICES
The worker received first aid emergency care when his foot was crushed at Visy’s Smithfield worksite in NSW in 2020. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

“At that time Mr Stojanovski was wearing hearing protection and could not hear the trolley car’s audible alarm over the noise of the corrugator and other plant in the area,” the judgment states.

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“Further, the audible alarm was not loud on the northern side of the trolley car.”

The judgment states the trolley car’s operator and brake system could not react quickly enough to prevent smashing into Mr Stojanovski’s foot.

Mr Stojanovski underwent surgeries to his left ankle and foot as a result.

However, his leg was surgically amputated below the knee following these procedures due to an infection.

Visy was ordered to pay a $375,000 fine by the District Court in NSW. Picture: Supplied
Visy was ordered to pay a $375,000 fine by the District Court in NSW. Picture: Supplied

A risk assessment had been carried out at the site some six months earlier, with safety inspectors raising concerns over crush and pinch points between the edge of trolley car and conveyor corners.

The assessment outlined solutions that were not implemented by Visy despite acknowledging the risk was “unacceptable”.

The court ultimately imposed a $375,000 fine after Visy pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a work health and safety duty.

“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,” SafeWork NSW head Trent Curtin said.

“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.”

Visy has been contacted for comment.