SAFETY: BSL will pay more than $370,000 to improve their safety after a worker was seriously burned in 2016.
SAFETY: BSL will pay more than $370,000 to improve their safety after a worker was seriously burned in 2016. Contributed

BSL's $370k upgrade, after worker suffers serious burns

BOYNE Smelters Limited has been ordered to pay more than $370,000 in safety improvements after a worker suffered serious burns.

On September 24, 2016, an employee was operating a furnace containing molten metal.

The worker was struck twice by metal ejected from the furnace after BSL allegedly failed to comply with workplace health and safety standards.

The employee suffered burns to their chest, lower stomach, lower back and buttocks and was unable to return to their pre-injury position with BSL.

The worker started a different role in May 2018.

A BSL spokesperson said that following the incident BSL proposed a formal 'enforceable undertaking' process to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland as an alternative to court proceedings.

The terms of the undertaking were accepted by the regulator last month.

The estimated $373,384 undertakings includes commitments to undertake safety focussed initiatives that have benefits for BSL employees and the wider community.

Improvements include: installing a range of laser measurement devices, cameras, timers, remote monitoring equipment and trip buttons in furnace areas.

These aim to reduce employee exposure with molten metal and improve response times in an emergency.

Other improvements include introducing air-fed hoods, which have a cooling effect for workers in hot operational environments.

BSL has also offered to partner with community groups such as the Men's Shed to provide peer support training to members.

BSL plans to host a two-day course to train new peer supporters in the next two years.

Site acting general manager Alan Milne said no matter what the safety record was BSL could "always do better".

"We are committed to ensuring an incident like we experienced in 2016 does not happen again," Mr Milne said.

"We are pleased to be given the opportunity by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland to demonstrate our track record and commit to improvements in the future."

A Workplace Health and Safety Queensland spokesman said in the past 10 years there had been 20 compensation claims for burns in the aluminium smelting sector.

"Of these, 13 were accepted and compensated, while the remaining seven were report only with no compensation required by the insurer," he said.

"Queensland's Foundry Code of Practice details specific health and safety requirements for the safely managing molten metal risks in this industry."