Century Yuasa, one of Australia’s most prominent and long-standing battery manufacturers, has been instructed to undertake a comprehensive safety review following a harrowing workplace accident in Carole Park.
In November 2020, a factory worker lost a finger and suffered a thumb “degloving” incident during the night shift. The unfortunate incident occurred when the worker’s hand became ensnared in a machine. The worker was injured while cleaning the rotary divider section of a battery plate production line. Subsequently, he was rushed to the hospital, where it was necessary to amputate one of his fingers due to the severity of the injury.
This has prompted Worksafe Queensland to issue an enforcement notice, highlighting concerns over the company’s compliance with health and safety regulations.
Worksafe Queensland’s Notice
Worksafe Queensland alleged that the company failed to meet its health and safety obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. As a result, Century Yuasa accepted an “enforceable undertaking” (EU) as an alternative to other enforcement measures. The EU includes several key requirements to enhance safety measures at the battery factory:
- Hiring a consultant to identify the top five manual tasks with injury risks.
- Implementing automation in production processes to reduce or eliminate manual handling in the battery assembly area.
- Engaging a consultant to conduct an audit of the rotary extender and assembly lines.
Company Background and Expansion
Century Yuasa Batteries, Australia’s oldest battery manufacturer, has recently experienced significant growth in response to the heightened demand for batteries driven by the work-from-home trend during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The company, which produces over 1.5 million batteries annually for cars, trucks, and other vehicles, expanded its operations by adding extra night shifts and hiring more than 20 new employees as part of a $21 million expansion initiative.
This expansion was made possible through substantial investments in new machinery for lead plates in batteries, increasing production by a remarkable 58 per cent.
The factory has also been a popular location for political figures, attracting the attention of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, ministers, and local MPs, who frequently visit for photo opportunities.
As Century Yuasa embarks on enhancing its safety measures, it seeks to ensure a safer working environment for its employees, preventing further accidents like the one in 2020 and maintaining its prominent position as a key player in Australia’s battery manufacturing industry.