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Prosecution Details

Offender Belpile Pty Ltd (ACN 010824629)


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Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 PE 64303/10 14 January 2008 10th August 2011 3A(2)(b)(i) $20,000.00 10th August 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 contrary to section 19(1) & 19A(3) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

The Accused was a piling contractor specialising in the installation of group injected bored piles.  The Accused employed a general labourer who was also employed as a concrete line pump operator.

On 14 January 2008 on a construction site in Perth, the labourer was instructed to operate a concrete pump which had been hired from a company trading in concrete. The concrete company was responsible for all maintenance of the pump under the hire agreement in place between the accused and the concrete company. 

Towards the end of the labourer's shift, when he was cleaning the pump he had been using, he raised the grate above the pump hopper unit and placed his left hand inside the hopper to remove some hardened grout from the left hand lip of the piston.  The swing tube rotated and trapped part of his between the pump inlet and the swing tube, severing three fingers and part of the labourer's palm.  All three fingers were successfully reattached.  At the time of the accident, the pump was turned off but the engine was still running.

The labourer had no formal qualifications but had in the past received some on-the-job pump training on the same type of pump when he worked under an experienced pump operator for approximately 12 months.  At the time, the accused had procedures or system of work in place in relation to the operation and/or cleaning of the concrete pump, however these procedures were not adequately explained to the labourer by the Accused.

The operator's manual explains the cleaning process and clearly states, "WARNING: At no time shall a person place their hands, feet or any part of their person in the hopper.  Severe injuries can occur."

There was a safety interlock device on the hopper of the pump, designed to prevent the swing tube from rotating if the grate was lifted.  However at the time of the accident, it was hanging away from the mounting position rather than being attached to the pivot point, and was consequently not able to function properly.  A number of the signs indicating warnings and hazards associated with the hopper area were obscured by dirt and grout.  The labourer alone was responsible for carrying out daily safety checks of the pump and he was not supervised in this regard.  Further, he was not even aware of the existence of the safety interlock device.

Outcome Summary

The Accused plead guilty

Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Perth
Costs $3409.70

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