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Prosecution Details

Offender B&Y Precision Engineering Pty Ltd (ACN: 124 997 753) trading as De Cassan Industries

Charges

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Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 PE38915/2021 23 October 2018 8th December 2021 3A(2)(b)(i) $200,000.00 13th December 2021
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employer, failed, so far as was practicable, to provide and maintain a working environment in which the employees of the employer are not exposed to hazards. Sections 19(1) and 19A(3) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984

Background Details

Background

B&Y Precision Engineering Pty Ltd is an Australian Company with an Australian Company Number 124 997 753. On 19 April 2007, B&Y Precision Engineering Pty Ltd was registered with two appointed company Directors.

On 1 March 2008, B&Y Precision Engineering Pty Ltd began trading as De Cassan Industries (B&Y) and from that time has traded under the name De Cassan Industries.

B&Y is in the business of manufacturing precision components and overhauling equipment for the mining and manufacturing industries.

B&Y had control of the workplace which consists of offices and a workshop located at 88 Beechboro Rd, South Bayswater WA 6056 (workplace).

Employment

At the material time, B&Y had approximately 10 employees including a manager, supervisor, machinists and other workers. Three employees operated the manual lathes at the workplace including the injured person (the victim).

Work Undertaken

B&Y’s work is predominantly carried out using milling machines, computer numerical controlled lathes and manual lathes.

The manual lathes at B&Y are used to reduce the size of steel material or objects by way of a cutting tool. Polishing is carried out on manual lathes by using a strip of abrasive material made from emery, to obtain a particular finish. The abrasive material is described in the industry as emery paper/tape/cloth (emery cloth). A piece of emery cloth is generally used to polish a work-piece, either to achieve a cosmetic finish or to resize a work-piece whilst it is being held and rotated by a manual lathe.

The general method for polishing on a manual lathe involves a worker half circling a length of emery cloth around the work-piece while it is rotating and holding the ends of the emery cloth in each hand. Another accepted method is for the worker to hold a short length of emery cloth in one hand and apply it directly to the work-piece whilst it is being rotated by the lathe. Gloves must not be worn during either methods of polishing.

Hazard

In this matter, the hazard at the workplace was a worker, the victim, being drawn into/ becoming entangled with the rotating shaft of a manual lathe when polishing a work object while wearing gloves (hazard). At the time of the incidence, the victim was applying the general method of polishing on a two metre manual lathe.

The Code of Practice for Safeguarding of Machinery and Plant 2009 identifies drawing in and entanglement being a hazard by being caught in a machine by loose items such as clothing, gloves, ties, jewellery, long hair, cleaning rags, bandages or rough material being fed into the machine.

Description of the incident

On 23 October 2018, the workplace and the employees of B&Y were performing their usual work.

The victim arrived at work at 7am and started working on a job he had previously been given which involved the use of the five metre manual lathe. At around 8am, the manager at B&Y asked the victim to stop his current job and perform an urgent task to polish both ends of a rusty steel shaft to reduce its diameter so that a bearing could slide onto the shaft. The victim left the five metre manual lathe and moved to the two metre manual lathe to perform this task.

The victim was working alone on the manual lathe.  He wore gloves (which were not the gloves supplied by the offender) when manually handling the shaft as it was rough and sharp and so that the rust did not cut his hands.

The victim placed the shaft on the lathe and then pressed the green button on the lathe to turn it on. This caused the shaft to rotate on the lathe. The victim then started polishing the shaft using the general method of polishing which involved half circling a length of emery cloth around the work-piece while it is rotating and holding the ends of the emery cloth in each hand.

The victim finished polishing the first end of the shaft and went to morning tea. After morning tea, he put his gloves back on in order to turn the shaft around in the lathe to polish the other end. The use of gloves for manual handling is an accepted safe work practice.

The victim then began polishing the second end of the shaft using the general method of polishing. After a short time, the emery cloth and the gloves on the victim’s left hand became entangled in the rotating shaft of the lathe. This evidences that the victim was wearing gloves whilst polishing on the manual lathe. At the time of the incident, the victim was wearing two pairs of his own gloves.

As a result of becoming entangled in the rotating shaft on the lathe, the victim’s left arm was amputated just below the elbow. He also suffered fractures to the left front side of his skull and ligament damage to his neck. The victim was taken by the ambulance to the hospital. It is not alleged that B&Y caused the injury to the victim however it evidences the potential consequences of this hazard.

Safety systems on and prior to incident

On and prior to the incident, B&Y had not conducted any risk assessments in relation to polishing on manual lathes and there were no verbal or written procedures prohibiting the use of gloves when polishing on a manual lathe. There was a lack of instruction and training provided to workers in relation to safe work practices for polishing on manual lathes. There were no formal or informal guidelines at the workplace regarding when gloves should or should not have been worn when operating manual lathes.

The offender did not have in place any systems to reduce the hazard of entanglement whilst polishing on a manual lathe.

Subsequent to the incident

Subsequent to the incident, B&Y conducted an internal investigation and produced a report which identified a number of factors that contributed to the incident including:

a)            Using gloves and the length of emery tape;

b)            The hazard had not been identified;

c)            There was no/inadequate risk assessment;

d)            Procedures were not followed/no procedure existed;

e)            There was No/inadequate safe work procedure;

f)             Distraction/ personal issues/ stress and lack of communication possible contributor; and

g)            Identified gloves to be the wrong equipment to be used when polishing shaft to size using emery cloth.

B&Y implemented the following at the workplace:

a)            Conducted a risk assessment in relation to polishing with emery cloth on a manual lathe to assess the risk of injury or harm occurring to its employees;

b)            Created written procedures using an online template in relation to metal lathes and polishing on a metal lathe which included prohibiting wearing gloves whilst using a lathe; and

c)            Installed warning signs about safe work procedures relating to lathes and polishing on lathes.




Outcome Summary

On 8 December 2021 the offender plead guilty and was convicted.  On 13 December 2021 the Magistrate issued a fine of $200,000 and ordered costs of $3320.50.

Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Perth
Costs $3320.50

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