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Prosecution Details

Defendant Metwest Steel Pty Ltd (ACN 123 829 532)
Section 19 (1), 19A(2) and 23D(2)
Offence Date 11th October 2011
Description of Breach(es)

Being a principal who in the course of trade or business engaged a contractor to carry out work for it, the Accused failed to, so far as practicable, provide and maintain a working environment in which persons employed or engaged by the contractor to carry out or assist in carrying out work for the Accused, were not exposed to hazards, being matters over which the Accused had the capacity to exercise control; and by that failure caused serious harm to an employee of the contractor; contrary to sections 19(1), 19A(2) and 23D(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (WA).

Background Details

Metwest Steel Pty Ltd (Metwest Steel) fabricates and supplies steel for both large and small structural projects from its premises at 34 Cocos Drive Bibra Lake, WA 6163.

The workplace consists of a workshop and small office. Within the workshop Metwest Steel carries out light and medium steel fabrication work and also provides onsite steel erection for clients.

Metwest Steel operates two electric travelling overhead cranes within their workshop. Both cranes have a 5 tonne safe work load and operate on the same runway. The crane on the north side of the workshop is manufactured by Supercrane, and the crane on the south side of the workshop is manufactured by SLS Cranes.

11th October 2011
On 11th October 2011, at approximately 8:00am, Metwest Steel contacted Total Hoists and Cranes Pty Ltd to indicate that one of their cranes required repair.

Total Hoists and Cranes Pty Ltd (Total Hoists and Cranes) specialises in crane servicing and overhead crane manufacturing and repair.

Director of Total Hoists and Cranes, instructed an employee to attend Metwest Steel's premises and carry out the repair.

The employee sent from Total Hoists and Cranes had been to Metwest Steel's premises to fix other issues with the cranes on several occasions prior to this date.

On arrival at Metwest Steel's premises, the Total Hoists and Cranes employee went to the office and informed the workshop supervisors of his arrival. Then was directed to the workshop where the Supercrane was located. The control pendant and the connecting wiring on the Supercrane had been damaged.

The Total Hoists and Cranes employee then left the Metwest Steel workshop to obtain a new control pendant and trolley for the repairs from the premises of Total Hoists and Cranes in O'Connor.

On the employee's return to Metwest Steel, the employee informed the supervisors that a scissor lift was going to be brought into the workshop to carry out the repairs to the Supercrane.

The supervisors were also informed that the employee would need to get up into the control box of the Supercrane which is located on the crossbeam of the Supercrane where it meets the runway.

The employee told supervisors the crane would be moved over in front of the supervisor's office, where the control box could be easily accessed without having to move any steel. The employee had worked at this location in the workshop several times before.

The employee managed to install the new control pendant and trolley to the Supercrane, and discovered there was only long travel movement of the Supercrane. The Supercrane could then be moved using the pendant control, in front of the supervisor's office, without having to pull or push it into position.

The employee informed the supervisors that the crane had no cross travel or hoist movement and that the scissor lift was going to be used to go up. The supervisors were asked to call if they needed anything.

The employee moved the scissor lift into position below the crane so that the control box could be accessed. The employee stood on the work platform of the scissor lift and raised the platform to about six metres. At this height the handrail on the scissor lift was above the bottom edge of the crossbeam on the crane.

INCIDENT
At about 10:30am a Metwest Steel worker operated the SLS Crane to lift and place a steel beam onto a shelf located in the workshop. During this movement, the SLS crane collided with the stationary Supercrane the Total Hoists and Cranes employee was working on.

As a result of this collision, the SLS crane moved the stationary Supercrane that the Total Hoists and Cranes employee was working on, which consequently pushed on the handrail on the scissor lift that the employee was standing on and tipped it over

Another worker of Metwest Steel, who was welding on a worktable approximately four meters away from the scissor lift, was knocked down by the falling. This worker was not seriously injured.

However, the Total Hoists and Cranes employee suffered a complete T10 paraplegia.

Post - Incident
After the incident, Metwest Steel had anti-collision devices fitted to the Supercrane and the SLS Crane's long travel system.

The anti-collision devices were fitted by Total Hoist and Cranes Pty Ltd at a cost of $2122.12.

It would have been practicable of the Accused to ensure that anti-collision devices were in place before 11 October 2011.

 




Outcome Summary

The Accused made an early plea of guilty and was fined $75,000 and the prosecution was awarded costs in the sum of $1014.30.

Conviction Date 12 Feb 2015
Court Fremantle
Fine $75,000
Costs $1014.30
Charge Number FR 10039/2014
Published 04 Sep 2015
  - Updated: 04 Sep 2015 (Admin only)