|Offender||Madora Bay Glass Pty Ltd (ACN: 123 697 450) as trustee for the Dan Turner Trust|
|Charge||Charge Number||Offence Date||Date Convicted||Regulation||Section||Penalty Provision||Penalty Imposed||Date Sentenced|
|1||MH3695/2020||28 February 2018||15th December 2020||19(1) 19A(2)||3A(3)(b)(i)||$90,000.00||15th December 2020|
|Description of Breach(es)||
On 28 February 2018, being an employer did not as far as is practicable provide and maintain a working environment in which the employees of the employer are not exposed to hazards and by that contravention caused serious harm to an employee, contrary to sections 19(1) and 19A(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (WA).
Workplace and Employment
The Accused, Madora Bay Glass Pty Ltd (ACN: 123 697 450) as trustee for the Dan Turner Trust (Madora Bay), is an Australian Company. Madora Bay’s sole Director was Daniel Turner.
Madora Bay operated from three premises in 2018. One of these premises was the Workplace at 57 Gordon Road, Mandurah (the Workplace). Madora Bay had recently purchased this business (previously called GT Glass) off the Director’s father by 2 January 2018.
Madora Bay were in the glazing business, manufacturing and repairing windows, shower screens, splashbacks and doors.
Glass is stored on several types of racks in the workplace. Some of these are mobile storage racks on wheels, some of them slide out cassette racks and some of them were drop racks.
A drop rack is attached to the wall of the workshop. The height of the drop rack is the same height as the cutting table as this rack is designed for glass to be tilted forward from the rack to land on the cutting table.
The remainder of the racks at the workplace were lower to the floor than the drop rack which sat approximately 900mm high off the ground.
Madora Bay had a number of employees working from the various premises:
a. Director and qualified glazier;
b. Director’s wife commenced a glazier apprenticeship but did not complete;
c. Manager and glazier;
d. Glaziers (Glazier 1, 2 and 3);
e. Apprentices or trainee glaziers (victim and the trainee); and
f. Office staff.
Work Practices at the Workplace
Some of the employees at Madora Bay engaged in the practice of leaning glass out. This is when an employee would lean a sheet of glass out from one of the racks onto the supporting hands of another employee. The first employee would then obtain the desired sheet from behind the leant out one. After the desired sheet is removed the remaining sheets are then leant back into the rack (practice of leaning glass out).
Whilst it was known by Madora Bay and Management that the practice of leaning glass out from a drop rack was unsafe due to the high centre of gravity of the glass sheets and weight of the glass there was a lack of training, supervision and policies about this practice.
It was assumed that employees would know this was an unsafe practice.
However, when Madora Bay purchased the GT Glass business and staff, they did not review the skill base of these tradesmen and it did not do a comprehensive review of GT’s safety procedures prior to taking these tradesmen on.
Despite this it was assumed that Glazier 1, would know not to engage in the practice of leaning glass out and Glazier 1 was left to supervise the victim and the trainee on an ad hoc basis.
Incident at the Workplace
On Wednesday 28 February 2018, Glazier 1 returned to 57 Gordon Road, Mandurah from an external worksite in order to obtain and cut a piece of glass for the glazing task he was carrying out.
Present in the workplace at this time were the victim, the trainee, Glazier 2 and a manager who was also a glazier.
Glazier 1 located a suitable piece of glass to cut for the job he was doing on a drop rack. This piece of glass was behind several other glass sheets. He obtained the assistance of the victim and the trainee to remove the piece of glass.
CCTV footage shows the victim and the trainee standing directly in front of the drop rack and Glazier 1 standing at one end. Glazier 1 leant sheets of glass out from the drop rack one and two at a time onto the raised hands of the victim and the trainee. They were supporting the glass sheets at or above their head height.
The victim and the trainee can be seen adjusting their hand and body positions to support the weight of the glass as each sheet is leaned towards them.
The CCTV shows Glazier 1 leaning out approximately eight sheets of glass onto the supporting hands of the victim and the trainee. After leaning the eighth (approximate) sheet out, Glazier 1 selects a sheet and lifts it out from the side of the drop rack.
The victim can be seen adjusting his feet as Glazier 1 carries the sheet to the cutting table.
The weight of the glass sheets became too much for the victim and the trainee and fell on top of them, trapping them underneath the sheets.
The trainee was able to slide himself out once the corner of the glass sheets were lifted by others however the victim was still pinned underneath the weight of the glass.
Other staff members had to come to assist in order to remove the glass from on top of the victim. He was unable to move due to sustaining serious leg injuries and was taken to hospital by ambulance.
The victim suffered serious harm when the glass fell on him. He received a large spiral fracture to the middle of his left femur, which resulted in a metal rod being inserted into the femur. His injuries were life threatening and without medical intervention would have resulted in sepsis, deformity or death.
He remained off work completely for a period of 4 months and then gradually returned to work increasing from light duties only a few days a week to being back at work in a full time capacity a little over a year after the incident.
Subsequent to the Incident
After this incident, Madora Bay introduced a written procedure relating to handling and stacking glass. This advised employees they are not to lean glass out at all and if they are caught their employment will be terminated.
This procedure stated “all glass is to be moved manually off any rack if you are obtaining the glass behind the stack. You are not to lean the glass out and expect people to hold glass whilst you are obtaining the back panel. If this is seen to be done, it will result in termination of employment due to not taking duty of care to others whilst in the factory.”
This new procedure was given to all employees who had to sign that they read and understood it.
Madora Bay also removed the drop rack in question from the wall and bought other racks in from its other premises to be used for additional storage of glass.
Glazier 1, Glazier 2 and Glazier 3 all left the business after this incident.
The Accused plead guilty on 15/12/2020 and was convicted. The Magistrate reduced the fine from an initial starting point of $130,000 and reduced it to $97,500 due to the early guilty plea and further reduced the fine to $90,000 for other mitigation and capacity to pay matters. Final amount after all reductions was $90,000. Costs of $3474.50 were ordered.
|Court||Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Mandurah|
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.