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Prosecution Details

Offender General Transport Equipment Pty Ltd (ACN 008 903 535)


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Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 PE44799/11 7 July 2009 5th December 2011 3A(2)(b)(i) $20,000.00 5th December 2011
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employer, failed, so far as is practicable, to ensure that the safety and health of a person, not being an employee of the Accused, is not adversely affected wholly or in part as a result of work that has been or is being undertaken by the Accused or an employee of the Accused, contrary to section 21(2)(a)(i) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

The Accused is a semi-trailer designer and manufacturer.  As part of its business the Accused also provides trailer servicing and repairs.  The business is conducted from a premises located on the corner of Abernethy Road and McDowell Street in Kewdale (the Premises).  The Premises is comprised of series of large workshops and an office area. 

At the time of the offence the Accused had in its employ a workshop supervisor, a fitter and a welder.

On 7 July 2009 the Accused held a tri-axle tanker trailer, which was owned by another company, in its tanker division workshop.  The tanker had previously undergone welding repairs performed by the Accused and had been held in the workshop for several days prior to 7 July 2009.

During the time that the tanker was in the workshop it was empty and remained supported by a semi-trailer jack stand that had been fabricated by the Accused.  The jack stand was designed and was used to lift semi-trailers and tankers but was not designed to be used as a permanent support. 

The jack stand was placed underneath the front of the tanker under the "J" rails approximately 3.1m from the front of the tanker.  A "J" rail is a reinforced metal rail which forms the support structure on the underside of the tanker barrel.   Where, as in the case here, a tanker does not have landing legs fitting "J" rails are used as the support point.  It is a requirement of AS2809.1-2008 to incorporate provisions to support a fully laden tanker safely when disconnected from the prime mover (eg, landing legs or provision in the structure such as a "J" rail for external support).

On 7 July 2009 the workshop supervisor directed the fitter to perform a hydrostatic test on the tanker.  The process is colloquially referred to as "hydro testing".  Hydro testing is a process whereby the tanker compartments are filled with water and then pressurised to test for leaks.  The process requires one person on the ground operating a water pump and a second person on top of the tanker to monitor the water level in the compartment.  After each compartment is filled, pressurised and tested for leaks, the water is emptied and the next compartment is filled.

On this occasion the fitter was on top of the tanker and the welder was operating the water pump.  The tanker being filled on 7 July 2009 had 5 compartments, which could each hold approximately 9000 litres of water.  The very front compartment was being filled with water.  When full the compartment would weigh approximately 9 tonne.

During the filling of the front compartment, the jack stand causing the tanker to roll to its left.  The Accused's position is that the tanker's "J" rail collapsed, creating an offset load on the jack stand which caused it to fail. This is not accepted by WorkSafe.

At that point in time, a person who is not an employee of the Accused was working at a bench located to the immediate left of the tanker.  As the tanker rolled, he was trapped between the tanker and the bench.   As a result of being trapped, he suffered pelvic bruising.

It was the Accused's normal practice to support tankers for extended periods with trestles or stands that had a safe working load suitable for that particular tanker.  The tanker in this case did not have landing legs.  This required the use of the jack stand to support the tanker while the prime mover to which it was connected was disconnected.

It was reasonably practicable for the Accused to have:

  • Supported the tanker by using appropriately rated trestles or stands; or
  • Not allowed its employees to hydro test the tanker without the tanker being properly supported.

The Accused failed to take any of those practicable measures.

Outcome Summary

The Accused plead guilty and was convicted.

Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Perth
Costs $1496.00

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