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Prosecution Details

Offender Makgen Holdings Pty Ltd (ACN 008 937 513)

Charges

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Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 PE44798/11 10 May 2010 5th December 2011 3A(3)(b)(i) $40,000.00 5th December 2011
Description of Breach(es)

The Accused, being an employer, failed, so far as was practicable, to provide and maintain a working environment in which its employee was not exposed to hazards, in contravention of section 19(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

The Accused employs administrative and managerial staff that it supplies to General Transport Equipment Pty Ltd (GTE).  GTE is a semi-trailer designer and manufacturer.  As part of its business GTE also provides trailer servicing and repairs.

Managerial staff employed by the Accused hold Supervisor positions in the GTE workshops, where those Supervisors direct and manage GTE workers as to what work to do and how to do it.

The Accused and GTE have common directors, and share a business premises at 16 Tipping Road Kewdale. 

On or about 7 May 2010, employees of GTE were working on a seized semi trailer rear extension which was controlled by a pneumatic cylinder which they had installed on the semi trailer a few days prior.   An employee of the Accused who holds the position of Repair Shop Manager and was also a Supervisor, directed the employees to stop working on the rear extension as the air rams were potentially dangerous.

On 10 May 2010, the Repair Shop Manager was working to free up the rear extension.  

A pneumatic cylinder can retain 800- 900 Kpa of stored energy.  Approximately  116 - 131 psi)

The Repair Shop Manager placed the trailer extension control to a position that he believed would cause it to extend outwards away from the end of the trailer.  He began heating the beam component of the trailer extension in an attempt to relieve the stress on the beam and free up the trailer extension.  When the heating did not work, the Repair Shop Manager began cutting the beam.   At this point he was situated between the end of the trailer and the trailer extension which was partly extended.  The gap between the end of the trailer and the trailer extension was approximately 0.5 metres.

During the course of cutting the beam, the trailer extension suddenly retracted crushing the Repair Shop Manager between the trailer extension and the end of the trailer.  As a result he suffered fractures to his skull, a lacerated ear and his left eye ruptured and had to be removed.

It was practicable for the Accused to have a system  of work in place which:

  • Required employees to disconnect and de-energise air pressure from the pneumatic pump prior to performing any repair works on the pneumatic pump; and/or
  • Required employees to place chocks between the end of the trailer and the trailer extension prior to performing any repair works on the trailer extension.

Prior to 10 May 2010, the Accused failed to implement either of the practicable measures.

After 10 May 2010, the Accused fabricated chocks to be placed between the end of the trailer and the trailer extension.   The Accused also developed a "Safe Use and Maintenance of Pneumatic and Systems" guideline.




Outcome Summary

The Accused plead guilty and was convicted

Court Magistrates Court of Western Austrlalia - Perth
Costs $1496.00

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