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Cleanaway charged over Canberra WHS incident

13 June 2023

National waste management company Cleanaway has been charged with breaching federal work health and safety laws over an incident that injured a Canberra worker.

Following an investigation by regulator Comcare, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has filed a single charge in the ACT Magistrates Court alleging Cleanaway Operations Pty Ltd failed in its duties under the Commonwealth Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act).

The incident happened on 4 June 2021 at the company’s waste and recycling depot in Hume.

A worker’s hand was caught in a machine that compresses cardboard and plastics into bales while he was performing routine maintenance. He was treated in hospital for multiple fractures and lacerations to fingers.

It is alleged Cleanaway failed to provide a safe system of work and training for workers, including:

  • Failing to install guarding to prevent access to the internal moving parts of the baling machine; and
  • Failing to provide workers with information and training to isolate power to the machine during maintenance.

The charge is a Category 2 criminal offence under the WHS Act, carrying a maximum penalty of $1.5 million.

The matter is listed for mention in the ACT Magistrates Court on 20 July 2023.

Cleanaway Operations Pty Ltd is a licenced national employer in the Comcare scheme and subject to regulation under Commonwealth work health and safety laws.

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Page last reviewed: 13 June 2023

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Date printed 25 Apr 2024