Manager fined $20,000 after man’s fingers crushed
THE operations manager of a Brisbane manufacturing company has been fined $20,000 for a workplace safety breach that cost a worker three fingers when his hands were crushed.
Dean Reid, 42, was working at the Oakmoore Pty Ltd plant in Wacol in May 2015, feeding material into a machine, when his hands were drawn into the rollers.
Three of his fingers and the tip of another had to be amputated.
The Ipswich father has undergone 17 operations to repair the damage, including the transplant of his big toe to replace a thumb.
Operations manager Roy Naicker, 62, pleaded guilty to exposing an individual to a risk of death or serious injury and was fined $20,000 for his decision to bypass a light curtain failsafe that would have prevented the incident.
The court heard Mr Naicker was made aware the machine was experiencing difficulties that could not be repaired immediately, but instructed staff to continue working as per normal.
Magistrate Matthew McLaughlin compared the machine to the "rollers of an old fashioned washing machine" and said the risk of bypassing the safety feature would have been obvious to a five-year-old.
The magistrate also took into account the "quite bizarre" fact that the machine came installed with a simple key lock feature that allowed the light curtain to be disabled.
"Mr Reid is going to bear the scars, pain and the disability from these injuries for the rest of his life and I imagine he will be on some kind of permanent disability scheme for the rest of his life given the use of his hands is so limited now," Mr McLaughlin said.
"They are devastating injuries that he has suffered."
In his victim impact statement, Mr Reid said he suffered from constant pain in his hands and was dependent on his wife for simple tasks.
He said he was happy someone was being held responsible for what had happened to him, but no monetary value would make it better.
"Because I have PTSD now and depression, I'm not as open with the kids, I'm not as cuddly and stuff like that," he said.
"I've gone through hell with this and I'm just happy that it's over with, this stage of it is over. It's about accepting it and moving forward."
No conviction was recorded and Mr Naicker was ordered to pay the court costs of $2091.50.
Lawyer James Goddard said Mr Reid has been severely impacted by his injuries and his firm Maurice Blackburn was now investigating a compensation claim.