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Prosecution Details

Offender Tropical Bay Pty Ltd (ACN 066 797 313)


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Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 MH3865/11 31 July 2008 10th November 2011 3A(3)(b)(i) $25,000.00 10th November 2011
Description of Breach(es)

On 31 July 2008, the Accused being an employer, failed, so far as is practicable, to ensure the safety of health of a person, not being an employee of the Accused, was not adversely affected wholly or in part as a result of any hazard that arises from or is increased by the work that has been or is being undertaken by the Accused, and by that failure caused serious harm, contrary to section21(2)(b)(i) and 21A(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

The Accused trades as a steel fabrication and manufacturing business under the name Transcoat Engineering and operates from a premises located at 11 Quarry Way, Mandurah in the State of Western Australia (Premises).  At the Premises the Accused has metalwork machinery including brake presses, guillotines, a cropper/punch machine, welders and angle grinders.

On 28 July 2008, a 16 year old student from Pinjarra High School commenced work experience with the Accused at the Premises.

On 31 July 2008, the student was directed, by an employee of the Accused, to cut 50 strips of metal on a Hydracut Guillotine.  The strips of metal were approximately 100mm wide, 500mm long and 2mm thick.

The student was required to mark out a section on each steel strip and place it length ways in to the Hydracut Guillotine to cut off the end.

The student was shown how to mark the steel strip, place it in to the Hyrdacut Guillotine, hold the steel strip with both hands placed on top of it and operate the guillotine by depressing on a foot pedal control, by an employee of the accused. The employee demonstrated how to perform these things by marking and cutting approximately 4 metal strips.

The student then commenced marking and cutting metal strips under the supervision of the employee.  After the student had cut approximately 10 metal strips, the employee was satisfied that the student was capable of performing the task without further intense supervision and went to perform other tasks. Although, the employee did check in on the student from time to time.

The student had cut 47 steel strips.  As he was cutting the 48th steel strip, he placed the steel strip in the guillotine and began to push it into position. The student did this with his hands on top of the steel strip so that his thumbs faced in toward each other and his fingers towards the guillotine.

As he pushed the 48th steel strip into the guillotine, the right hand side of the steel strip became stuck.  He applied more force on the steel strip pushing towards the guillotine, at which time the left hand side of the strip spun into towards the guillotine, almost rotating on the front right hand corner of the steel strip.  As the steel strip spun in to the guillotine, the student's hands remained in position on top of the steel strip and his left hand went under the front guarding of the guillotine and in to where the guillotine's hydraulic clamps, which hold the steel in place whilst it is being cut, were located.  At the same time, he lost his balance and applied pressure to the guillotine's foot pedal control.  The guillotine clamps came down on his left hand causing him crushing injuries.  As a result of the crushing injuries, three of the student's fingers were partially amputated. He lost his middle finger up to the middle knuckle, his ring finger up the first knuckle and part of his index finger.

The guarding on the Hyrdacut Guillotine left a 20mm gap, which provided a clearance gap between the top of the steel strip and the guard of approximately 18mm.  AS 1893-1977 The Guarding and Safe Use of Metal and Paper Cutting Guillotines provides, at clause 4.1.2 that when the distance from the clearance gap is between 40 - 65mm, the clearance gap is to be a maximum of 9mm.

After the incident, the Accused manufactured its own guard for the Hydracut Guillotine which, if in place prior to 31 July 2008, would have prevented the student from sustaining the crushing injuries.  It was practicable for the Accused to guard the Hydracut Guillotine in accordance with AS 1893-1977 The Guarding and Safe Use of Metal and Paper Cutting Guillotines prior to 28 July 2008.  The Accused failed to take that practicable measure.

Outcome Summary

The Accused plead guilty and was convicted

Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Mandurah
Costs $528.00

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