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Prosecution Details

Offender Gavin Holdcroft


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Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 PE31971/11 14 January 2011 20th January 2012 3A(3)(a)(i) $20,000.00 20th January 2012
Description of Breach(es)

Being a self-employed person failed, so far as was practicable, to ensure that the safety or health of a person was not adversely affected wholly or in part as a result of work that he was undertaking, or any hazard that arose from or was increased by that work or the system or work that had been or was being operated by the accused; contrary to sections 21(2) and 21A(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

On 14 January 2011 the Accused operated a plastering business in the course of which he had entered into a contract to plaster a two storey building under construction in Stirling. 

He engaged a worker who was 21 years old to assist him.

A Materials Hoist had been installed on the site with a landing on the first floor.  It was designed to hoist materials such as a wheel barrow of plastering mud.  It was operated from the ground.   Parts that moved alongside the platform were not guarded because the hoist was not designed for a person to be near those parts whilst it was operating.   A large sign on the platform stated "Persons Shall not Ride on Platform".  A ladder and scaffolding were in place to safely access the first floor. 

When asked "What was to be gained by riding on the hoist rather than using the ladder access", The Accused said "faster time".

Shortly after 1pm the worker wheeled a barrow of mud onto the hoist and the Accused pushed the "up" button.  The worker placed his hand next to a bolt protruding out of the pulley enclosure. 

When the hoist was halfway up the worker felt the back of his hand being drawn into the narrow gap between the pulley housing and the tower.  He shouted to the Accused who then stopped the hoist.

The worker looked at his hand and saw that it was de-gloved to reveal tendons and bone.  His thumb was hanging off.  The skin had been pulled from the back of his hand and his hand was trapped under one of the steel mast cross members. 

Fire and Emergency Services Officers had to attend the site to cut through a hoist tower section to free the worker's hand.

The worker has subsequently had four operations on his hand. One of these operations re-attached his thumb. He still needs to have a further three to four operations. He has suffered permanent tendon and nerve damage to his hand. It requires physio every day. He currently has not regained full use of his hand or thumb and sees a surgeon at the Western Australian Plastic Surgery Centre.

The Magistrate determined that this matter would ordinarily attract a fine of $40,000. However, because the evidence suggested that a fine of that nature was likely to bankrupt the Accused, the fine was reduced to $20,000. The Accused applied for a conditional release order, but the Magistrate found that such an order was not appropriate for a serious matter such as this.

Outcome Summary

The Accused plead guilty and was convicted.

Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Perth
Costs No Order

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