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Blood, sweat and tears: Injuries caused by machinery


For centuries machines have helped mankind get the job done quicker. However malfunctioning machinery, incorrect use and unsafe conditions mean that injuries caused by machinery are common reasons for workers compensation claims in Australia.

Here we unpack the causes of machine accidents across Australia, what you and your employer should do about machinery hazards and the story of our courageous client Paul; who lost his arm in a violent workplace accident and how compensation was able to help him.

Machinery injury statistics

Why do injuries happen when working with machines?

Most injuries caused by machinery are preventable, yet every year thousands of workers suffer traumatic and life-altering injuries. So why do they happen?

Causes of machine accidents

Risks not eliminated during design stage of the machine

Lack of maintenance

Training not provided or insufficient

Machinery not used correctly

In our Restitution Podcast we cover the story of our client Paul Draper, who lost his arm in a violent accident with a mincing machine.

Unfortunately for our client Paul, his amputation injury could have been prevented in a number of ways:

  • 20 years before Paul’s accident, someone had lost their arm in the same circumstances with the same type of mincer.
  • The mincing machine had no safety measures in place; there was no safety guard, frozen meat was fed into the machine via hand without adequate protective equipment and the safety stop button was on a wall, metres away from the machine.

What should my employer do about machinery hazards in my workplace?

Under Australian law, it is your employer’s responsibility to implement, supervise and enforce appropriate systems and safety measures to safeguard their workers.

To meet their duty of care your employer must:

  • Create a safe work environment;
  • Provide workers with information, training, instructions and supervision needed to maintain safety (which includes ensuring the safe use of machinery)
  • Ensure facilities (including machinery) are well-maintained and an acceptable standard of safety
  • Keep an injury register (and action reviews for necessary safety improvements after injuries); and
  • Have a workers compensation policy and return to work plan.

In Paul’s case, his employer KR Darling Downs failed to provide a safe work environment and ensure that the mincer was as safe to use; even after someone had lost their arm in the same way many years prior.

What should I do about machinery hazards in my workplace?

Our tip: if you or people around you can get hurt when operating the machine, it’s time to speak up.

Talk to your employer or WHS representative if you have safety concerns or if you need training to operate a machine safely.

Follow the policies and procedures put in place.

Wear or use the appropriate safety equipment.

Take reasonable care for the health of yourself and those around you.

What happens if a machine accident results in injury or death?

If you suffered an injury caused by machinery or have lost a loved one in a workplace fatality, everything can change in an instant. It can be hard to know how much the injury will impact your life or your ability to work going forward. Regardless of who was at fault, you may be able to secure compensation for:

  • Loss of wages
  • Medical & rehabilitation expenses
  • Permanent impairment compensation
  • Return to work services
  • Benefits associated with the death of a worker

Our client Paul was reluctant to bring a claim against his employer KR Darling Downs, as he was a long standing and loyal employee. However, he couldn’t ignore the fact that his ability to work was immediately impacted by the injury and many years on still struggles. By going through the workers compensation claims process with Shine Lawyers, Paul was able to receive compensation that helped him to secure a house and new car for his family (in addition to his medical costs).

Injured on the job? Contact the work accident claim experts at Shine Lawyers

If you’ve suffered an injury caused by machinery, our workers compensation lawyers can help you to understand your legal rights and access the compensation you deserve on a No Win, No Fee basis.

You may also be entitled to benefits through your superannuation or other insurance policies.

We can provide advice wherever you’re most comfortable; whether it’s at home, in one of our local offices, or over a video or telephone call.

To get started, use our free online claim checker below, or speak to one of our experts over the phone for a no-obligation chat.

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: July 7, 2022.

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