skip navigation

Prosecution Details

Offender John Bylsma trading as J & BM Bylsma


Swipe to see more information
Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 ES264/11 6 February 2008 21st March 2012 3A(3)(a)(i) $20,000.00 21st March 2012
Description of Breach(es)

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


Background Details

John Bylsma (the Accused) together with his wife operated the Minnikin farm located at Location 720 Springdale Road, Munglinup Western Australia under the trading name J & BM Bylsma.

The Accused employed his son as the manager of the farm, though as the employer the accused had ultimate control over the running of the farm.

A farm hand was employed to work on the farm.  The farm hand's responsibilities included operating a grain roller mill located at the farm which is driven by a power take off (PTO) unit attached to the back of a Massey Ferguson 1155 tractor.  The grain is delivered into the top of the roller mill by electrically driven augers and discharged by an auger into the feed bin or onto a stockpile. The feed blend is then mixed with water and fed to cattle.

On Wednesday 6 February 2008, the guard on the belt drive of the grain roller mill was not in place.  The guard had been removed previously from the PTO drive unit, the drive coupling of the drive pulley and the belt.  The feed adjustment lever, whilst located approximately central on the roller mill casing, required employees to lean over the top of the rotating drive line (drive shaft, universal joint drive coupling and drive pulleys and belt) in order to increase the feed flow rate or to adjust the feed flow rate after it had been increased above the usual level.  The Accused was aware that the guard had been removed from the mill.

At approximately 5:30 pm on Wednesday 6 February 2008, the farm hand was operating the grain roller mill on the Minnikin Farm.  Whilst using the mill, she was reaching to adjust the flow rate control lever on the roller mill.  She was attempting to increase the flow rate which required her to push it away from herself and needed some force to do so.  A part of the jacket the farm hand was wearing became entangled in the unguarded belt drive that was driven by the tractor PTO drive unit and connected to the drive coupling by a drive shaft.

As a consequence of becoming entangled in the unguarded belt drive of the roller mill, the farm hand was dragged into the unguarded PTO drive unit and became wrapped around it and was flung to the ground. 

Her right arm was traumatically amputated.  She also sustained a right femoral shaft fracture, left posterolateral ligament rupture and left foot drop.

It was reasonably practicable for the Accused to have ensured that the grain roller miller was not operated without adequate guards in place, in particular, that it was not operated without an adequate guard of the PTO shaft.

Subsequently, a replacement roller mill was borrowed whilst awaiting the delivery of a new mill.

Outcome Summary

The Accused entered a late guilty plea and was convicted

Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Perth
Costs $10,000.00

Search the records of all successful prosecutions taken by WorkSafe under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 and Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 since 1st January 2005. Searching and indexing of this database is limited to convictions for offences against the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 and Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 committed on or after 1 January 2005, when the statutory offence and penalty regimes were significantly amended.

Offences committed prior to 1 January 2005, while of limited comparative relevance, can be accessed via the following link.