Man Killed In Workplace Accident At Zinc Smelter

Published September 27, 2019 (last updated July 21, 2020)

Colleagues of 59-year-old worker, Michael Lewis Petterwood have been receiving counselling after the death of their long serving coworker at Nystar’s Hobart zinc smelter.

Paramedics were called to the northern suburbs smelter in Lutana on Wednesday evening after a colleague found Mr Petterwood, who had been working alone, lying unconscious.

The cause of Mr Petterwood’s death is currently unknown, however police said there were no suspicious circumstances surround his death.

“He had worked there for 32 years and was very well respected and liked and a very good worker,” Mr Flanagan said according to The Advocate.

“The plant is still operating and there is counselling for workers and some had to go home.

“The workers are very shaken and quite distressed,” Mr Flanagan said.

The death of Mr Petterwood is a series of work-related deaths that have been occurring around the country.

On Wednesday, another worker was killed in Sydney’s south-east after being crushed to death by a shipping container in Port Botany.

The tragic incident is a reminder of the importance of workplace safety, and the ripple effect it can have on the entire community. Managing risks and maintaining a safe workplace should never be compromised and should be a priority for all business owners.

In order for businesses to ensure a safe workplace, there are a series of measures that should be put in place.

They include:

  • Identifying hazards – working out what dangers and threats employees may face on a day to day basis, as well as recognising the hazards that may not be blatantly obvious.
  • Assess risks – identify whether someone will be exposed to that hazard, the severity of the injury that may occur and the likelihood of this occurring.
  • Control risks – once you have identified the hazard, work out how you can fix them. Once you’ve worked out a solution, make the necessary changes.
  • Review control measures – creating a safe and healthy workplace is an on-going procedure. Review and evaluate on a regular basis and continue to improve.

Making sure that all employees are properly trained for the specific tasks they perform is another fundamental element of work place health and safety. To do this, training and instructions should be easy to understand.

Everyone in the workplace, from the owner down to the staff, are responsible for health and safety in the workplace. As such businesses should support open communication with their staff to assist identify and reduce risk in the workplace.

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