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Prosecution Details

Offender D’Amelio Stone Pty Ltd (ACN 090 952 391)


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Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 JO10711/08 26 March 2007 27th February 2009 3A(3)(b)(i) $40,000.00 27th February 2009
Description of Breach(es)

The Accused, being an employer, did not so far as was practicable, provide and maintain a working environment in which its employees were not exposed to hazards and by that failure caused the death of an employee and contravened sections 19(1) and 19A(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

D'Amelio Stone Pty Ltd (D'Amelio Stone) imported and processed slabs of marble, granite and engineered stone so that they could be used for kitchen benches, table tops, stair cases and floor tiles. It also provided a service installing its products into domestic and commercial buildings.

D'Amelio Stone employed about 15 people, and operated this business from a storage shed in Malaga, and from an office, workshop and storage yard next door at another address in Malaga.

The marble, granite and engineered stone were imported in shipping containers in which they sat on A-frame racks. The shipping containers were delivered to D'Amelio Stone and unloaded at its workplace by a crane. The accused stored the marble, granite and engineered stone on the A-frame racks it was delivered on.

There was nothing in place to prevent the slabs falling forward onto a person standing in front of them. A slab may fall because: a forklift had accidentally knocked it or the A-frame it sat on; a slab was not properly stacked on its rack; a slab was not properly secured to the rack that held it; wind moved it; or a worker could not hold the weight of a slab.

Prior to the date of the offence a rack of slabs had fallen over as a result of a forklift accidentally reversing into the rack, the wind had blown slabs over on one or two occasions, and on another occasion a slab nearly toppled over onto a worker who was trying to pull it away from the other slabs on the same rack.

Slabs were moved by the D'Amelio's employees up to fifty times per day. The slabs weighed up to 350kgs and were as large as 2.5m high by 3m long. Slabs were moved by one employee standing in front of the first slab at the front of the rack and pulling it forward and away from the second and other slabs so that a clamp attached to a forklift could grip the first slab and lift it out of the rack

On 26 March 2007 two employees went to the storage shed to move a piece of engineered stone to the workshop. They wanted to move the second piece of slab from the front of the A-frame rack of slabs. The slabs on the rack each weighed 217 kilograms and were 3 meters long, 1.4 meters high and 2 cm thick. For every degree that a slab was tilted forward its weight increased.

One employee reversed a forklift with a clamp on it into the shed and parked it next to the A-frame rack holding the slabs. The slabs were tilting towards the back of the A-frame rack. The victim stood in front of the first slab which had others behind it, held onto its top edge and pulled it towards him so that it was vertical and the slabs behind it remained titling backward. The other employee then gripped the slab that was behind the slab that the victim was holding, pulled it forward and put a small block of sample stone behind it so that there would be a gap big enough between it and the third piece of slab to allow the clamp on the forklift to slide over it.

The employee then left the victim holding the first slab and walked back to the forklift and started it up. The slab that the victim was holding followed by the slab behind it fell towards the victim crushing his head between them and pieces of engineered stone in an A-frame rack behind him.

The employee tried to but could not lift the slabs off the victim so he ran out of the shed whilst calling for help. A person who was working next door heard employee 1's calls for help and helped him to lift the slabs off the victim. An ambulance was called and the victim was pronounced deceased at the scene.

On 29 March 2007, the first working day after the offence, D'Amelio Stone instructed its employees to never stand in front of a slab, and provided them with training concerning moving slabs. The director of D'Amerlio Stone also documented the new procedure for the movement of slabs. It also purchased several racks to hold the slabs which were designed so they would not allow a slab to fall off the rack. It had a documented induction document in use at the time of the offence but it did not cover the movement of slabs and the related hazards.

The storage of slabs on racks which allow the slabs to fall forward is a widespread practice in the stonemasonry business in Western Australia. However, suppliers of stonemasonry equipment both overseas and in Australia supply a wide range of racks which hold slabs so that they cannot fall forward off the rack. Industries which handle material of similar weight and proportion to that handled by the stonemasonry industry, such as the steel industry, have used racks to store slabs of steel and other products which do not allow the product to fall forward off the rack.


Outcome Summary

The Accused was found guilty and convicted. The Magistrate fined the Accused $40,000.00 and ordered to pay costs of $4690.70.

Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Joondalup
Costs $4690.70

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