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Prosecution Details

Offender Cognomen Pty Ltd
Trading Name Centra Fine Foods


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Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 PE6533/08 24 January 2006 17th April 2008 3A(2)(b)(i) $15,000.00 17th April 2008
2 PE6534/08 24 January 2006 17th April 2008 3A(1)(b)(ii)(I) $1,500.00 17th April 2008
Description of Breach(es)

Charge 1: The accused failed to, so far as practicable, provide and maintain a working environment in which its employee, was not exposed to hazards contrary to sections 19(1) and 19A(3) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Charge 2: Being an employer, failed to notify the Commissioner forthwith of an injury of the type prescribed in the regulations, to its employer, contrary to sections 23I(3), 23J(1) and 54 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

The Accused operates a food distribution business, having premises located at 6 Granite Place, Welshpool ("the workplace"), and employs a number of employees A necessary part of the Accused's business was the loading of delivery vans on a daily basis.

The Accused's delivery vans were equipped with shelves in which stock could be loaded ready for delivery. Larger items of stock are placed on the floor for transport. Stock may additionally need to be secured in order to prevent it moving during transport.

On 7 February 2006 WorkSafe was advised that on 24 January 2006, an incident occurred at the workplace which caused an injury to an employee of the Accused. Subsequent investigations by a WorkSafe Inspector revealed that on that date the employee was struck by a recoiling elastic strap (an "occy strap") in the left temple whilst loading the delivery van he was scheduled to drive.

The Accused had a number of delivery vans that it used to deliver stock to its customers. On 24 January 2006 the injured person was loading a Mercedes Sprinter delivery van (1APS 801). This van was equipped with shelving in the load area to carry stock. The injured person had been attempting to secure some tubs of thickened cream underneath the shelving on the floor of his delivery van between the rear and middle uprights of the shelving of the rear of the van to prevent them from moving during transport. The end of the occy strap he had secured to the rear upright became unfastened and recoiled towards him and struck him in the left temple area. The injury required hospitalisation and surgery.

Upon his commencement with the Accused the injured person had been instructed to use occy straps to secure loads by the person who first inducted and trained him. He had always used these straps in the course of his employment with the Accused. Other drivers, also employees of the Accused, used occy straps, prior to and around the time of the injury. Prior to the injury the Accused had provided no instruction regarding the prohibition or use of these straps.

As a result of being struck by the recoiling occy strap the employee's left zygomatic arch (eye socket) was fractured. Such an injury is a fracture to the skull. Where such an injury occurs to an employee the relevant person, in this case the Accused as the injured employee's employer, has an obligation to report this injury to the Commissioner forthwith.

During subsequent investigations, the sole director of the Accused, admitted in a record of interview that on that date he was aware of the injury to his employee and was aware that he had been driven to hospital for further treatment. The director admitted that 2 days later he was aware of the extent of the injury. However, the Accused did not report this injury to the Commissioner until 28 February 2006, approximately 1 month after the injury occurred and it became aware of the nature of the injury. This notice was not received by the Commissioner until 7 March 2006. This notice of the injury was only sent to the Commissioner pursuant to an improvement notice issued to the Accused directing the Accused to report such injuries to the Commissioner. This improvement notice was issued on 14 February 2006.

It was practicable for the Accused to have had in place an alternate system of additionally securing loads in the delivery vans that did not require the use of such straps and instruction and training in relation to alternate means of securing loads. It was also practicable for the Accused to have advised its employees of the risks of using such straps or alternatively to have prohibited their use at the workplace.

The Accused subsequently disposed of all occy straps from its delivery vans and now prohibits the use of them, preferring cargo nets as an alternate method of securing stock. These nets cost about $20.00 each.

Outcome Summary

Plead Guilty

Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Perth
Costs $948.00

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