Polymaster Industrial Operations

Incident Type

Workplace Amputation during Machinery Use

Date of Incident

March 2021

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Polymaster, a Victorian water tank manufacturer, faced penalties after acknowledging failures in providing a secure working environment, which led to an employee losing her thumb during machinery operation.

Details of the Incident

The traumatic event occurred in March 2021 when a female employee’s thumb was severed as she operated an industrial sander. The machine drew in her hand, resulting in her thumb being amputated. Immediate efforts to reattach the thumb were unfortunately unsuccessful.

Operational Context

A WorkSafe Victoria probe concluded that the incident not only showed the employee was unaware of specific operating procedures prohibiting the wearing of gloves but also highlighted broader serious safety risks in Polymaster’s operations.

Court’s Decision and Impact on Victims

The court fined Polymaster $65,000 for the incident, emphasizing the severity of the injury and the company’s responsibility to enforce safety protocols. An additional $16,000 was ordered for legal costs. Although no conviction was recorded, the impact on the worker was deemed profound and life-altering.

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