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Prosecution Details

Offender Geoffrey Baines


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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 16 May 2007 3rd June 2010 20A(2)(c) $1,200.00 3rd June 2010
Description of Breach(es)

Did not take reasonable care to avoid adversely affecting the safety or health of another person through an act or omission at work and by that failure caused serious harm.

Background Details

The Accused was an employee of the Minister for Education at the Western Australian College of Agriculture, where on 16 May 2007 he was teaching students to attach a rotary tiller to a tractor and then use them.

Before lunch time the accused had been teaching two students (Student 1 and Student 2) to use a rotary tiller.  Under the direction and supervision of the Accused, Student 1 had reversed the tractor up to the tiller and Student 2 and the accused had connected two of the arms of the tractor to the tiller. The tractor arms are known as link arms because they link the tractor to a piece of machinery such as a tiller.

The Accused and Students 1 & 2 then tried to connect the Cardan shaft to the tractor and tiller. The Cardin shaft carries power from the tractor to the tiller and is the only source of power for the tiller.

The shaft would not connect as it was longer than the distance between the connected tractor and the tiller. The Accused and the students went to lunch without successfully connecting the tractor to the tiller.  After lunch the Accused and the students continued the exercise of connecting the tractor and tiller so that they could then be operated. However Student 3 took Student 2's place. The Accused was now teaching Student 1 and Student 3. 

The Accused and Students 1 & 3 disconnected the tractor from the tiller and connected the Cardin Shaft. The Accused then tried to connect the tractor to the tiller. This was contrary to the manufacturer's instructions.

After the Cardin Shaft was connected the Accused stood between the tractor and the tiller.  The Accused instructed Student 3 to stand in the same position on the other side of the tractor. They had their backs to the tractor and held the arms of the tractor ready to connect them to the tiller.  The Accused told the Student 1 to start the tractor. Student 1 started the tractor but quickly hit the kill switch as he thought that the tiller was making an unusual sound.  The Accused had not asked him to stop the tractor.  After Student 1 had started the tractor the tiller had moved forward towards the back of the tractor.  It had knocked over the Accused and dragged Student 3 under it up to her waist, causing serious harm.

The college had another tractor to which the tiller could be connected in a safe way.

The instruction manual for the tiller clearly stated that the tiller must be connected to the tractor before the Cardan Shaft is connected.  The safety rules of the College forbid anyone standing behind a tractor while it is running.

The Accused had not taken any of the safety measures set out in the Particulars of the Prosecution Notice.

Accused pleaded guilty.

Outcome Summary

Convicted and Spent Conviction order made

Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Geraldton
Costs $1109.20

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