|Offender||Elderstone Nominees Pty Ltd|
|Trading Name||Hillside Abattoirs|
|Charge||Charge Number||Offence Date||Date Convicted||Regulation||Section||Penalty Provision||Penalty Imposed||Date Sentenced|
|1||NA463/06||30 May 2005 & 31 May 2005||28th November 2007||19(1) 19A(2) 23F||3A(3)(b)(i)||$60,000.00||28th November 2007|
|2||NA464/06||30 May 2005 & 31 May 2005||28th November 2007||4.37(1)(f)||1.16(2)(b)(i)||$5,000.00||28th November 2007|
|Description of Breach(es)||
Charge 1 of 2
On 30 May 2005 at Narrogin, Elderstone Nominees Pty Ltd, being a labour hire client, and where under a labour hire arrangement with a labour hire agent, namely Smoothjob Pty Ltd, work was carried out for remuneration by workers for Elderstone Nominees Pty Ltd in the course of Elderstone Nominees Pty Ltd's trade or business, failed to provide and maintain, so far as practicable, a working environment in which workers were not exposed ot hazards, being matters over which Elderstone Nominees Pty Ltd had capacity to exercise control, any by that failure caused the death of an employee; contrary to sections 23F. 19(1) and 19A(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.
Being an employer at a workplace, failed to ensure that every dangerous part of a fixed powered plant, namely a Skin Tumbler, was as far as practicable, securely fenced or guarded in accordance with regulation 4.29; contrary to regulation 4.37(1)(f) of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 made under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.
Located in the basement area of the Abattoir there is what is known as the Inedible Products Processing Area, where animal products that are not suitable for consumption are sent for further processing.
The Inedible Products Processing Area contains the Paunch Room and the Skin Trimming Area. Within the Inedible Products Processing Area there are two augers (or screw conveyors) contained with u-shaped troughs that convey waste material through the area. The main auger commences in the Paunch Room and extends approximately 20.5 metres to the Skin Trimming Area. At this point a smaller auger meets the main auger and takes the material through the Skin Trimming Area out to a container outside the Inedible Products Processing Area. Neither the main auger nor the smaller auger extending through the Skin Trimming Area had any guarding over the top of the trough that was capable of preventing access by any body part with the augers. A mesh guard was in place over the auger motor, which was at the very end of the main auger in the Paunch Room. There was a lanyard running almost the entire length of the augers in the Inedible Product Processing Area that when tripped caused the augers to stop operating. The controls for both the Inedible Product Processing Area augers are located in the Paunch Room and the accused had a system in place whereby only the person working in the Paunch Room was to utilise the controls for the augers, although anyone could cause the augers to stop by tripping the lanyard along the length of the auger trough. Once the lanyard had been tripped, a reset button had to be activated before the augers could be restarted.
A chute from the slaughter floor drops waste from the slaughter floor directly into the main auger near the beginning (motor end) of the main auger. At the relevant time there was a splashguard attached to the top of the auger trough extending up towards the bottom of that chute that prevented material from falling outside of the auger trough. There was approximately 1/2 metre of unguarded auger trough between the auger motor and where the splashguard was located.
At the commencement of the main auger, near the motor end, there is a distance of approximately 280mm before the first flight (or blade). At times the fat waste became caught in this area and did not move forward along the auger unless pushed up to the level of the first flight of the auger by some means. There was also a small hole near the bottom of the trough at the motor end of the main augers that was designed to allow excess water of fluids to drain from the auger trough. From time to time this hole became blocked and needed to be cleared by some means.
On 30 May 2005 the deceased, an employee of Smoothjob Pty Ltd was working in the Paunch Room in the Inedible Product Processing Area. Two other employees of Smoothjob Pty Ltd were working in the Skin Trimming Area. At around 1pm one of the employees working in the Skin Trimming Area, noticed that the augers were not operating and shouted out to the deceased to start both the augers. When he received no response, he walked toward the Paunch Room to ask the deceased to start the augers. He saw the deceased caught in the main auger with his legs in the air protruding from the gap between the motor of the main auger and the splashguard and his head protruding out of the auger on the other side of the splashguard. An ambulance was called and workers used oxyacetylene gear to remove the splashguard so as to free the deceased from the auger, however this person was deceased before the ambulance arrived.
It is not known how the deceased became caught in the main auger. If the auger had been guarded so as to prevent access to the auger by any body part, the deceased could not have become caught in the auger.
On 31 May 2005 a WorkSafe Inspector who was at the workplace in relation to an unrelated matter, observed an operational Skin Tumbler that did not have its sprocket, chain and shaft drive guarded. The Skin Tumbler was located in the sheep unloading area of the Abattoir, adjacent to the maintenance workshop.
When the Skin Tumbler is operating, a body part of a person working in the vicinity of the Skin Tumbler could become caught in the unguarded moving parts or nip points of the sprocket, chain and shaft drive of the Skin Tumbler.
The Accused had previously been issued with an improvement notice requiring it to guard the sprocket, chain and shaft drive of the Skin Tumbler by a WorkSafe Inspector in June 1998.
In a record of interview the CEO of the Accused stated that the Skin Tumbler had been guarded in compliance with the notice issued in June 1998 but the guard had later become rusted and was removed.
Search the records of all successful prosecutions taken by WorkSafe under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 and Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 since 1st January 2005. Searching and indexing of this database is limited to convictions for offences against the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 and Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 committed on or after 1 January 2005, when the statutory offence and penalty regimes were significantly amended.
Offences committed prior to 1 January 2005, while of limited comparative relevance, can be accessed via the following link.