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Central Coast company fined after young workers overcome by fumes


A company has been fined $45,000 after two young workers were overcome by fumes.

Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said Central Coast Metal Protectives Pty Ltd was penalised in the Sydney District Court for failing to protect the health and safety of the two workers, aged 19 and 20, who were cleaning the inside of a landing pontoon. 

“These two young men were asked to climb inside and use thinners in a space that was about 12 cubic metres,” Mr Kean said.

“The workers had no specific training for working in confined spaces. They had no ventilation, and entered the pontoon with malfunctioning and inadequate protective equipment.

“Both men were vomiting and disorientated when they were found and they were quickly taken to hospital.”

Mr Kean said both workers were lucky they made a full recovery, but it could have been far worse.

“They should never have been placed in such working conditions without fully functioning respirators, mechanical ventilation or a person nearby to raise the alarm,” Mr Kean said.

The pontoon was part of a naval ship undergoing restoration.

Mr Kean said young workers should not be taken advantage of because of their age, and should always receive appropriate training and supervision to stay safe on the job.

“My number one priority is making sure that every worker who heads off to work in the morning, returns home safely to their family at night,” Mr Kean said.

Last year SafeWork NSW successfully prosecuted 34 offenders and issued 218 penalty notices.

Central Coast Metal Protectives Pty Ltd has the right to lodge an appeal.