FLOUR miller, ingredients supplier and baker, Allied Pinnacle, has been convicted and fined $20,000 following an incident where a worker was taken to hospital after being trapped by screenings that surged from a silo at a Victorian worksite in June 2021.
The incident occurred at the company’s flour mill located at Kensington, an inner-city suburb of Melbourne.
Allied Pinnacle Pty Ltd was sentenced in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court last week after pleading guilty to a single charge of failing to provide or maintain systems of work that were, so far as was reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health.
The company was also ordered to pay costs of $4151.
The court heard that on the day of the incident, a silo capable of storing 10 tonnes of grain screenings was blocked.
Following several unsuccessful attempts to unblock the silo, the worker entered a multi-level shed that provided access to the silo.
While the worker attempted to clear the blockage, product surged into the shed, trapping him.
It was later estimated that 2t of screenings had exited the silo.
Emergency services extracted the worker, who was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
It was discovered that at the time of the incident Allied Pinnacle had no safe operating procedure to prevent the entrapment or suffocation of workers attempting to dislodge silo blockages.
Employers should reduce risks
WorkSafe executive director of health and safety Narelle Beer said there was no excuse for companies that failed to have safe systems of work in place.
“It shouldn’t take an incident like this for an employer to develop and implement procedures that can save someone’s life,” Dr Beer said.
“Employers must make every reasonable effort to eliminate or reduce any risks to health and safety at their workplaces and WorkSafe will continue to prosecute companies who fail to do so.”
In order to manage the risks when working with grain silos, WorkSafe Victoria says duty holders should undertake a risk assessment to identify hazards, develop and implement safe operating procedures, and provide the necessary information and training to employees.
Duty holders should also put signs on or in the vicinity of silos warning of any risks.
Source: WorkSafe Victoria