Safety shortcut ends in serious injury, $40,000 fine

Uniroll Roofing Pty Ltd faced sentencing in Warrnambool Magistrates’ Court on the 16th of May, after admitting to inadequacies in providing and maintaining a safe work environment, and falling short of imparting requisite information, instruction, or training to their workers. In addition to the penalty, the court also obligated the company to bear costs amounting to $4207.

At the crux of this negligence case was a novice employee tasked with managing a metal forming press – this involved guiding metal sheets through a series of rollers. The worker had only a week’s experience in the company, with no proper orientation or formal guidance provided. The incident occurred when, noting marks left by the rollers on the metal surface, the worker decided to clean them. This activity was complicated by a presented-alternative method to clean the rollers whilst they were still functionally engaged from the company’s co-owner, bypassing the usual safeguard measures. Unfortunately, this guidance led to the employee’s scouring pad becoming entangled with the roller and severely injuring his hand as a result.

The aftermath saw multiple surgical procedures for the worker who was only able to resume full-time responsibilities in August of the same year, prior to his discontinuation of employment with the company. It would have been prudent for Uniroll Roofing to bring into action a safety procedure involving locking-out and tagging the machine off and isolating its power before proceeding with cleaning duties. This would also necessitate adequate instructions, WHS management systems, guidance and training about the procedure, helping to underline the importance of plant cleanliness only occurring when non-operational, under appropriate supervision.

Narelle Beer, WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety, offered stern reminders to employers about prioritising worker safety. Drawing attention to the distressing case of Uniroll Roofing, Dr. Beer emphasised the necessity of having safety measures such as Bluesafe SWMS (Safe Work Method Statements) and Bluesafe WHS Management Systems in place, as well as furnishing workers with the tools and training they need to do their jobs safely. Employers failing to meet these standards, she said, can expect decisive action from WorkSafe.

Echoing Dr. Beer’s sentiments, we urgently reiterate no job should require compromising employee safety and that cutting corners can lead to preventable accidents and irreparable harm. Employers must endorse safe working procedures, use products like Bluesafe SWMS, and provide staff with adequate information, instruction, and training to ensure their safety.

Safety tips while cleaning plant and equipment:
For media details:
Email: media @
Phone: 0438 786 968
To stay informed, subscribe to media releases.

Original article link:

Shopping Cart