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Prosecution Details

Offender K S Black (WA) Pty Ltd


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Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 MI7830/07 5 October 2006 13th December 2007 3.64(2) 1.16(2)(b)(i) $5,000.00 13th December 2007
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employer at a workplace, failed to ensure that an employee or any plant or material used or controlled by an employee did not enter the danger zone of an overhead power line; contrary to Regulations 3.64(2) and 1.16 of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 made under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

The corporate accused ("the company") operates a business providing services in relation to ground water supplies including drilling bores, maintaining pumping units, testing bores, removal and reinstallation of pumping units and so on. Mr Kim Black is a director of the company and as such under s 55 is an accused himself ("Mr Black"). The company employs several people.

In October 2006, the company was contracted by Tyco Flow Control Pacific Pty Ltd trading as Water Dynamics ("Tyco") to carry out work at Parmelia Olive Grove ("the Grove"). The Grove is a 320 ha property owned and run by Frankland River Olives located at Lot 2388 Mogumber West Road in Mogumber ("the Workplace"). The Grove is managed by Southern Olive Management Pty Ltd ("the Manager"). The Grove is irrigated by a number of bores. The work to be carried out by the accused included the removal and reinstallation of a Grundfos Submersible Pump ("the Pump") and Wellmaster Flexible Riser ("the Riser") for repairs. The Riser is a flexible tube connected to the Pump through which the pumped water is conveyed from the bottom to the surface of the bore.

The site of the bore was located in proximity to 33 kV overhead power lines belonging to Western Power. The company was responsible for ensuring that employees of the accused or plant controlled by them did not enter within the 3m of the live overhead power lines ("the Danger Zone") at Mogumber.

Removal and reinstallation of the Pump and Riser was done using a telescopic boom type crane mounted on a Nissan UD 1981 model truck ("the Crane"). The boom of this crane had a pictorial warning relating to the use of the crane under overhead powerlines. On 31 August 2006 Mr Black and an employee of the accused, travelled to Mogumber to remove the Pump and Riser. The proximity of the power lines to the location of the bore was readily apparent to Mr Black on arriving at the Workplace. Having travelled some distance to get to the Workplace Mr Black determined to pull the Pump and Riser, notwithstanding the presence of the live overhead power lines.

Neither Mr Black nor the company took any steps to have the overhead power lines isolated, such as contacting Western Power to arrange for their isolation or insulation or requesting Tyco or the Manager to do so. Mr Black and his employee successfully removed the Pump and Riser. It is not known how close to the overhead power lines the Crane came during this process.

The Pump and Riser were brought back to Perth and repaired. On 5 October 2006 the Pump was taken back to the Grove and two employees of the company commenced reinstallation work. Again, neither Mr Black nor the company did not take any steps such as making arrangements with Western Power, either directly or through Tyco or the Manager, to ensure that the overhead power lines were isolated or insulated on this date.

At approximately 1330 hours the Crane's hoisting rope came into contact with the high-voltage overhead power lines while both employees were attempting to reinstall the Pump and Riser. This contact resulted in the operator of the Crane receiving electrical burns requiring hospitalisation.

Shortly afterwards, a Western Power fault crew attended the site and found the Crane set up with its boom extended above the level of the overhead power lines and its hoisting rope resting on the overhead power lines. A subsequent inspection of the Workplace on 9 October 2006 by two Worksafe Inspectors revealed that approximately 30m of the Riser had been partially installed in the bore, with approximately 60m laid out along the surface of the ground.

Mr Black later stated during a record of interview conducted by Worksafe that he never discussed with his two employees that they would be working in the vicinity of overhead power lines. Mr Black did not otherwise take any steps to ensure that the boom of the Crane operated by his employee did not come within the Danger Zone of the overhead power lines.

Subsequently, on 12 October 2006, following arrangements made with Western Power on 10 October 2006 to have power at the site isolated, the reinstallation was completed. The accused could have arranged to have the power isolated for both the removal and attempted reinstallation on 5 October 2006 of the Pump and Riser. In this case the cost of isolating the overhead power lines was minimal, being approximately $200.

Outcome Summary

Plead Guilty

Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Midland
Costs $424.35

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