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Prosecution Details

Offender Dalmain Enterprises Pty Ltd (ACN 076 851 253)


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Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 KA1938/10 27 February 2007 5th August 2011 3A(3)(b)(i) $90,000.00 5th August 2011
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employer, failed so far as was practicable to provide and maintain a working environment in which the employees of the employer were not exposed to hazards and by that failure caused serious injury; contrary to section 19(1) and 19A(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984

Background Details

The Accused traded as ATS Mining Maintenance and carried on a mechanical maintenance business that provided maintenance repairs, maintenance refits and rebuilds of underground mining, earth moving and open pit machines, plant and equipment.   The accused operated at premises located 29 Clancy Street, Boulder.

On 27 February 2007, an employee of the accused, a Qualified Heavy Duty Fitter was repairing a 73 Caterpillar Dump Truck located in one of the bays of the workshop area.  The truck weighed approximately 40 tonnes and the tray of the truck weighed approximately 10 tonnes.

At the time the Heavy Duty Fitter was repairing the pump drive input shaft seal, which is located in between the rear bell housing and the pumps located under the tray of the dump truck.  For the majority of the repairs, the tray of the truck was raised and in the vertical position. The tray was in this position.  When raised, two safety pins are inserted into the anchor points located under the tray.  These safety pins are designed to hold the tray against its own weight, not against any hydraulic pressure exerted by the truck.  This procedure is stipulated in the Maintenance Manual for the truck.   As the eyelets for the safety pins were damaged proper safety pins could not be used in this instance. Instead a metal "harden" bar was used.  The Maintenance Manual for this truck was available in both hard copy and electronically on disk at the workplace.

The truck also has a master lock out switch located on the front of the truck. Locking this switch out prevents the truck being started and the hydraulics engaged.  This switch is designed to be physically locked and comes complete with a locking cover suitable for employees to fit personal padlocks to.  Although a "Tag Out" procedure was noted in the Accused's internal manuals the Accused did not enforce a comprehensive isolation policy for machinery under repair.

On the 27 February 2007 at least 3 employees, including the Heavy Duty Fitter and a 15 year old apprentice were working on the truck.  There were no isolation tags affixed to the truck indicating that it was being worked on.

The Heavy Duty Fitter instructed the 15 year old apprentice to tidy up tools and rags near and on the truck. The apprentice did this for approximately 20 minutes.

When the Heavy Duty Fitter observed the 15 year old apprentice standing on the chassis torque tub underneath the elevated tray of the truck, he instructed him to get down as he was about to start the truck in order to check for oil leaks.  This instruction was in regards to the exposed drive shaft of the truck which posed a threat of entanglement to the apprentice where he stood at the time.

The apprentice expressed interest in the drive shaft of the truck and the Heavy Duty Fitter explained it to him. He then asked the apprentice to get off the truck.  The apprentice then moved to stand on the fuel tank. The fuel tank lies underneath the tray of the truck. When laid down the tray lies flat across the top of the fuel tank.

The Heavy Duty Fitter and other witnesses saw the apprentice stand in this position. A ladder lead from the tank down to the ground.  The Heavy Duty Fitter assumed the apprentice was going to use this to get off the truck.

The Heavy Duty Fitter called out to the other employees working on the truck and asked them to stand clear. He then started the truck. After the truck had been started the truck tray began to descend.  As it descended under hydraulic pressure the tray snapped the harden bars.  The Heavy Duty Fitter and other employees noticed the 15 year old apprentice standing on the fuel tank.

The tray came down on top of the 15 year old apprentice causing him to suffer the following injuries: multiple fractures of the mandible and orbital bones, the left femur and several lumbar vertebrae, serious facial fractures of the zygoma, maxilla, and nasal bones resulting in posterior displacement of the mid face and facial lacerations.  The 15 year apprentice has been left with permanent injuries.

Manuals detailing the relevant safety procedures for performing maintenance on the truck, including the need to use an appropriate isolation procedure were available at the workplace.

These procedures were not followed and the Accused did not ensure that these procedures were followed.  The Accused had an isolation tag procedure. However, it did not adequately train its employees in the appropriate use of these techniques nor did the policy require employees to physically lock out machinery whilst it was "tagged".  An appropriate isolation procedure applied to the main lock out switch would have prevented the starting up of the truck and lowering of the tray until all employees' isolation locks and tags had been removed and the area cleared for start-up.   Complete sets of isolation tags, personal locks and multiple person hasps (permitting each employee working on a machine to personally lock that machine out at the same lockout point) were readily available at minimal cost.

Subsequent to the injuries to the employee a comprehensive lock out/tag out system was introduced by the Accused.

Outcome Summary

The Accused entered a late plea of guilty.

Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Kalgoorlie
Costs $3654.50

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