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Prosecution Details

Offender D & G Hoists & Cranes Pty Ltd (ACN 084 148 096)


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Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 MI15172/09 9 October 2007 2nd December 2010 3A(3)(b)(i) $90,000.00 2nd December 2010
Description of Breach(es)

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

Background Details

D & G Hoists and Cranes Pty Ltd (the Accused) was a sales and rental company that hired out an assortment of hoists and cranes. The company provided erection, dismantling and maintenance services for hoists and cranes.

The Directors of D & G Hoists and Cranes Pty Ltd were David Patrick Majella Keating and Luigi Vincenzo Decesare (the Directors).

The Accused operated a workplace including hoist, crane and storage yards in Malaga (the Workplace). The Accused's operations included the movement of L68 Packs. An L68 Pack comprises 16 components weighing 375 kg each, stacked into interwoven rows of eight.

The Directors of the Accused were experienced in the slinging of loads, and both were qualified doggers and riggers. Each of the Directors was ‘hands on' in terms of being based at the workplace and frequently in the yard.

At the time of the incident, the hierarchy within the workplace was:
• The General Manager - Mr Decesare
• The Operations Director - Mr Keating
• The Operations Manager.
• The Yard Supervisor.
• The employee who allocated jobs to workers in accordance with instructions from the Yard Supervisor.

Most of the workers employed at the workplace were qualified dogmen and/or riggers.

The Directors knew that:
a) There was a hazard in the workplace in regard to lifting L68 Packs;
b) Any movement of L68 Packs by a method which involved securing only the bottom two of the 16 components of the pack (described as Method 2) was incorrect , dangerous and created a risk of injury or death;
c) A method of lifting which properly encapsulated all components (Method 1) was the appropriate method to lift L68 Packs;
d) The Yard Supervisor's administrative duties did not permit him to give full attention to the yard

Method 2 had nevertheless been in use at the workplace on a regular basis for some time prior to the accident on October 2007.

Five employees who were recent employees prior to the accident, believed based in part on instructions from more senior doggers/riggers, that Method 2 was the method to be used to move L68 Packs in the workplace.

The Directors did not know that Method 2 was in use and believed or thought that the Yard Supervisor was enforcing the use of Method 1.

One of the Directors accepted that it was one of his responsibilities to oversee the work of employees and to see that it was done safely. He also accepted that employees sometimes ‘do things in a way that they shouldn't'.

On 9th October 2007, three riggers (including the deceased) received instructions from the Yard Supervisor to lift three L68 Packs and place them into an adjacent yard for storage using the yard tower crane.

The chains were set on the crane hook and slung by the three riggers, with the chains going down the outside of the pack and at the corners hooking around the bottom sections of the pack (Method 2). The three riggers walked around to the area where the pack was to be placed so as to guide the crane operator to lower the load. The load was approximately two metres above the ground when the L68 Pack separated causing fourteen of the sixteen components to fall out.

A rigger was struck on the head by one of the falling components and suffered a fatal head injury.

It was foreseeable that an employee might use a method other than Method 1 to sling L68 Packs despite the doggers/ riggers qualifications.

The Accused failed to, have the appropriate slinging method (Method 1) in place and enforced at the time of the accident. That omission resulted in the dangerous Method 2 being used.


Outcome Summary

The Accused was found guilty after trial. The Magistrate fined the Accused $90,000 and ordered costs of $36,103.20.
This fine was upheld upon appeal to the Supreme Court of Western Australia - Court of Appeal [2013] WASCA109.
The Accused's directors were also charged and convicted. See separate prosecution summaries for each director, Luigi Vincenzo Decesare and David Patrick Majella Keating.

Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Midland
Costs $36,103.20

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