Australian Employee Crushed to Death in Industrial Blender

A Western Sydney manufacturing company and its director were recently fined a total of $127,400 and ordered to pay WorkCover’s legal costs after a high powered industrial blender was turned on with a man inside it.
According to a report from the WorkCover Authority, FIP Brakes International (FIP) produces industrial sized brake pads, as well as other products, for trains and other railway vehicles and employs around 60 people mainly based at its facility in Wetherill Park. Its managing director is Chris Katakouzinos. (WCxKit)
A machine operator was killed when he was cleaning out an industrial blender at FIP’s premises.
The power to the machine had not been isolated and the machine became operational with the worker still inside. He died at the site with extensive crush injuries and lacerations.
A WorkCover investigation found a significant number of safety failings:

1.      The machine should not have been able to operate while its front

       doors were open. 

2.      The safety switches were either broken or malfunctioning. 

3.      The machine’s electrical power supply had not been turned off. 

4.      The machine operator should not have been working alone. 

5.      The machine was not properly maintained. 

6.      The operator was not given proper training.

FIP and its director were charged with breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000.
In handing down her finding in the Industrial Court, Justice Backman said the incident was foreseeable and that there were serious deficiencies in the company’s systems. (WCxKit)
They both pleaded guilty. FIP was fined $117,000 and Mr. Katakouzinos $10,400. The court ordered them to pay WorkCover’s legal costs.

Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See for more information. Contact:



Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
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