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Prosecution Details

Offender Blueleaf Corporation Pty Ltd
Trading Name t/as Whittakers Timber Products


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Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 BR160/10 4 October 2007 28th February 2011 3A(3)(b)(i) $45,000.00 28th February 2011
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employer, failed so far as was practicable, to 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 traded as Whittakers Timber Products and operated a Timber Mill located at Lot 63 Grimwade Road in Greenbushes, where logs of various types are received and then machined into finished products, such as floorboards, ready for sale.

At this workplace was a Weinig 22B wood shaping and profiling machine ("the Machine"). The Weinig 22B machine functions by having timber manually supplied at the input end. The machine then self drives the timber through the Machine where it is cut and shaped by a number of high speed rotating cutting blades that finish the timber to a predetermined profile before transferring it by conveyor to a table where it is manually removed and stacked.

The cutting blades in the Machine require changing or adjustment frequently depending on the job requirements.

On 4 October 2007,  it became necessary to reconfigure the cutting blades of two high speed cutting heads of the Machine. Three employees were working and operating the machinery at the time, one an experienced machinery operator and two trainee machinery operators.

The experienced Machinery Operator turned off the power supply to the cutters being changed, and began the task of changing the cutters.

The cutting heads of the Machine that were not being worked on were left energised and rotating at high speed.

One of the trainee Machinery Operators was attempting to clear away some sawdust from the bed of the Machine near a set of rotating cutters when his gloved hand was drawn into the rotating cutters resulting in the amputation of four fingers and the mutilation of his right hand.

The trainee Machine Operator had worked at the workplace for nine days at the time of his injuries.


Outcome Summary

Pleaded Guilty

Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Perth
Costs $1970.70

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