6 April 2023

A wastewater operator employed by Goulburn Valley Water suffered a serious injury to their finger in October 2021 while cleaning a screw press and inlet screen at a site in Mooroopna.

In response to the incident, Goulburn Valley Water today entered a guilty plea at the Shepparton Magistrates’ Court, as part of a hearing into one charge brought by WorkSafe Victoria of failing to provide or maintain a work environment that was safe and without risks to health for employees.

The hearing was adjourned and the case will return to court in May for a decision.

Goulburn Valley Water Managing Director Steve Capewell said GVW acknowledged responsibility for what happened.

“We are really sorry this accident has occurred and for the impact it has had on our staff member,” Dr Capewell said.

“The safety of our people is critically important to us and has always been one of our highest priorities. We’ve always invested heavily in safety across our business and will continue to do so in future, including our extensive safety policies, training, and programs focussed on employee health and wellbeing.

“We’re also really pleased to report our staff member has been able to return to normal duties.”

Goulburn Valley Water has cooperated fully with WorkSafe and proactively carried out comprehensive safety, procedure and risk reviews at each of its sites. There has also been significant investment in upgrades of safety systems at our operational sites, as well as plant and machinery.

At the Mooroopna Wastewater Management Facility, new isolation and emergency switches have been installed on entry point screens and machinery, with new interlock systems on guards. Risks have been critically re-assessed and additional guidance and support safety tools developed, as well as specific safety design guidelines for inlet screens to help mitigate risk.

“We’re committed to ensuring the safety of all of our employees, so this doesn’t happen again,” Dr Capewell said.

“We’re also increasing our investment in safety leadership development by establishing a coaching and mentoring program to support our employees. Importantly, following the incident, we have been able to learn, educate others and improve our systems.”