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Prosecution Details

Offender Integrated Group Limited

Charges

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Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 Unknown at time of publication 25 February 2005 25th July 2006 3A(2)(b)(i) $7,500.00 25th July 2006
Description of Breach(es)

Being a labour hire agent, and where under a labour hire arrangement with a client of the accused, work was carried out for remuneration by a worker for the client in the course of the client's trade or business, failed to provide and maintain, so far as practicable, a working environment in which the worker was not exposed to hazards, being a matter over which the accused had the capacity to exercise control, and by that failure caused serious harm to the worker; contrary to sections 23F, 19(1) and 19A(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

The accused is a labour hire agent, operating a business of providing workers to carry out work for clients of the accused. A client of the accused operates a salt refinery at Hamilton Hill (the Workplace).

Sometime prior to 15 February 2005, the accused had entered into an arrangement with the client to provide a worker, to work at the Workplace in the capacity of forklift driver and general labourer in return for payment by the client to the accused of $22.50 per hour of work. On or about 24 January 2005 a representative of the accused attended the Workplace, inspected it and completed a Job Compatibility Assessment which included a Task Description of the work that would be performed by the worker.

In accordance with that arrangement, on or about 15 February 2005 the accused sent one of its employees to work at the Workplace for the client in the capacity of forklift driver and general labourer. There was no contract of employment between the client and the employees of the accused.

When he commenced work at the refinery on or about 15 February 2005 the worker was given a general verbal induction to the workplace in relation to emergency evacuation procedures, first aid, accident reporting and the location of facilities at the Workplace by the production manager of the client. He was not shown any written policies or procedures that related to the Workplace. The worker was not otherwise given any site specific induction or specific instruction in relation to the safe operation of any machinery at the refinery.

At the refinery is an item of plant known as a waste auger that is used to put salt not suitable for consumption into large bags. Workers at the Workplace are required to operate the waste auger in order to transfer salt into the bags. The motor, v-belts and pulley of the waste auger had, prior to 25 February 2005, been fitted with a guard that was held in place by a chain and bolt.

Prior to 25 February 2005 there had been a number of occasions where the waste auger would become jammed or would otherwise not work properly to transfer salt into the bags. It was accepted regular practice at the Workplace that workers using the waste auger would, if it became jammed, and without isolating the auger from its energy source, unbolt and remove the guard covering the v-belt and pulleys and then try to get the v-belt turning again. From time to time after the guard had been removed and action had been taken to get the v-belt turning again, the guard was not immediately secured back in place.

The worker was instructed by the client that his duties at the Workplace included cleaning up waste salt and using the waste auger to transfer salt not suitable for consumption into bags. Prior to 25 February 2005 he had experienced the waste auger jamming or otherwise not operating properly on 5 or 6 occasions. He was aware that other workers got the waste auger going again by tensioning the v-belt.

The accused did not require the client to ensure that the employee was given any site specific induction or specific instruction in relation to the safe operation of any machinery at the refinery. The accused did not identify operation of the waste auger as a task to be performed by the employee and hence did not make inquiry of the client regarding its safe operation, whether the employee was to be given instructions concerning its safe operation or whether there were any hazards associated with its use.

On 25 February 2005 the worker took a wheelbarrow of salt to the waste auger and pressed the button to turn the waste auger on. The auger did not commence rotating. The guard for the v-belt and pulleys was not in place and he observed that the top pulley was spinning but the belt was loose and the bottom pulley wasn't spinning. In order to get the waste auger working again, he used his fingers to tension the v-belt. As the v-belt recommenced turning it dragged his fingers into the pinch point between




Outcome Summary

Convicted

Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Fremantle
Costs $540.70

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