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Prosecution Details

Offender Canon Foods Services Pty Ltd


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Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 AR6795/09 29 May 2006 18th March 2010 3A(3)(b)(i) $20,000.00 18th March 2010
Description of Breach(es)

The accused being an employer did not, so far as practicable, provide and maintain a working environment in which its employees were not exposed to hazards and by that failure caused serious harm to an employee; contrary to sections 19(1) and 19A(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

The accused is a manufacturer of convenience foods such as crumbed chicken and fish products, burgers and other similar products.

The accused's business premises comprise offices and a factory unit located at 7 Madison Street, Canning Vale.  The factory unit houses food processing machinery and packaging equipment.

The accused's food processing operations involves mincing, mixing, forming, cooking and packaging the various products.

One of the machines in the accused's factory is a food mince/grinder, known as the Seydelmann Automatic Grinder ("the Grinder").

The Grinder had a large stainless steel hopper into which product is placed.  Once the product is placed in the hopper, it is fed by means of an auger - being a rotating helical metal shaft, and then into grinding rings, where the product is minced - the grinding rings which mince the product are separately guarded.

The Grinder has an interlocking step fixed to the front of the machine, which was designed to allow the Grinder to operate only whilst the step was locked in the upright position.  The step was described by the Operation Manual as a "security device" to bring the operation of the machine to a stop when the interlock mechanism is released and the step is unfolded.  The step was described by the Operation Manual as a "security device" and the design was intended to prevent any person from standing on the step while the Grinder was operating.

On the morning of 29 May 2006, one of the accused's employees was in the process of grinding blocks of cheese in the Grinder.

During this process, he was standing on the interlocking step, placing the cheese into the hopper of the Grinder.  Even though the step was not in the upright position, the Grinder continued to operate.

He turned the Grinder off a few times, in order to flick some cheese that was sticking to the sides of the hopper down near the auger.  At approximately 9.00 am he turned the Grinder on again, engaged it into slow speed and reached down into the hopper to push the cheese into the auger.

As he pushed the cheese down, his left hand came in contact with the auger, severing his index and middle fingers and pulling skin and muscle from the back of his hand and arm.

He was immediately transferred by ambulance to hospital for emergency surgery, however, the index and middle fingers on his left hand were permanently lost.

The injured person commenced work with the accused in early April 2006 and stated that no one had ever told him not to put his hands in the machine.

He was not aware that the step that he was standing on in order to reach into the hopper was intended to be interlocked so that it would automatically stop the Grinder when it was placed in the "down" position.  The interlock mechanism had worked during the period of his employment.

Shortly following the date of the offence, the accused:

  • arranged for an electrician to inspect and service the interlocking step on the Grinder;
  • installed an interlocking guard over the hopper on the Grinder, so that employees could no longer reach into the hopper while the Grinder was operating.

Outcome Summary

Pleaded Guilty.

Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Armadale
Costs $1,900.00

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