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Timber firm fined $120,000 over crush death

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A large timber products company has been fined for failing to provide a safe workplace at its Latrobe Valley mill in south-east Victoria.

Timber worker Michele Cooper was killed as she was trying to un-jam a wood-stacking machine at the Carter Holt Harvey mill at Morwell in January 2008.

The Latrobe Valley Magistrates Court heard the company had a strong emphasis on workplace safety but it failed to identify safety issues with its wood-stacking machines.

Magistrate Fiona Hayes said no-one witnessed the accident but it is believed Ms Cooper was crushed by the machine's hoist as she freed the jammed timber with a hammer.

A report tendered in court found flaws in the machine's design led to the accident.

Ms Hayes said Carter Holt Harvey faced a maximum penalty of $275,000 but found it had improved safety at the site.

The company was fined $120,000 for failing to provide a safe workplace.

Reported by ABC News


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