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Australia – Skilled Group fined after work accident

10 May 2013

Skilled Group has been fined alongside fertiliser firm, Incitec Pivot, after a worker was seriously injured following an accident at a conveyor belt in June 2011. Both companies pleaded guilty in front of the Geelong Magistrates’ Court in Victoria.

The worker suffered injuries after his arm became trapped in a conveyor belt at the fertiliser company. The man was employed by Skilled Group and was injured after less than one month working at Incitec Pivot.

Skilled Group was convicted and fined AUD 70,000 for failing to provide safe working conditions. Incitec Pivot had to pay AUD 90,000.

The court heard the man suffered permanent injury to his shoulder.  A WorkSafe investigation found workers at the factory often had to chip fertiliser off moving conveyors with shovels, hammers and crowbars, which is how the accident happened.

Skilled Group was accused of failing to determine the nature of the work and did not check whether the worker received proper training.  The court heard that Incitec had relied on a “buddy system” to train the injured worker. Magistrate Ann McGarvie said such a system “only works if your buddy is telling you the right thing to do. Here, that didn't happen.”

Skilled Group provides specialist workforce solutions in the areas of trades and maintenance, production and distribution and technical professions. The firm dominates the Australian staffing market with almost twice the market share of its closest rival Hays, according to research by Staffing Industry Analysts.


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