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Prosecution Details

Offender Visy Paper Pty Ltd
Trading Name Visy Recycling


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Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 PE13051/07 16 February 2005 25th May 2007 3A(3)(b)(i) $25,000.00 25th May 2007
Description of Breach(es)

Where under a labour hire arrangement work was carried out for remuneration by a worker for the accused who was a client of a labour hire agent, in the course of the accused's trade or business, the accused failed to, so far as practicable, provide and maintain a working environment in which the worker was not exposed to hazards, and by that failure caused serious harm to the worker; contrary to Sections 23F, 19(1) and 19A(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

The accused operated a large national recycling, collection and processing business. They had numerous workplaces in Western Australia. One of them was at 9 Valentine Street in Kewdale where the accused operated a plastic and paper recycling business.

On the morning of 16 February 2005 a worker who was employed by a labour hire business called JD Thompson Pty Ltd, was working for the accused. He was working at its recycling plant at Kewdale where he was ensuring that one of the balers operated properly. He was operating the green Selco Baler.

The baler was an item of fixed powered plant that uses a large ram to compress paper into bales that were about 1.6m cubed, and weigh about 1 tonne. There were five rods that thread five strands of wire through each bale and five corresponding twisting mechanisms that twist the end of each strand of wire. The wire then held the bale together.

The part of the green baler that twists the wire is known as the Twister Unit.

The worker noticed that the green baler had not twisted the end of the bottom strand of wire because the wire had come off the twisting mechanism. He reached over to the bottom twisting mechanism with his right hand to put the wire back onto the twisting mechanism. He had done this on prior occasions as had other workers in the factory. The bottom twisting mechanism of the Twister Unit caught his glove and pulled his hand around it.

The emergency stop button was pushed. It shut down the green baler. Several employees rushed to assist him. They could not free him so his right hand and arm were caught on the twisting mechanism for about 20 to 30 minutes while he waited for Fire and Emergency Services workers to free him from it.

He was taken to hospital where it was identified that he had suffered injuries to his right hand and arm that included nerve damage, dislocation, fractures, and major laceration. He underwent surgery and rehabilitation. He has been diagnosed as suffering from a permanent injury that has resulted in the loss of 40 percent of the use of his right arm below the elbow.

Within a few hours of the accident a contractor had attended the factory and welded a temporary guard over the Twister Unit.

The temporary guard on the Twister Unit was later replaced by an interlocking guard which stopped the Twister Unit if the guard was opened.

The accused co-operated fully with WorkSafe during its investigation.

Outcome Summary

Pleaded Guilty

Court Perth Magistrates Court
Costs $1,178.70

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