|Offender||Smoothjob Pty Ltd|
|Charge||Charge Number||Offence Date||Date Convicted||Regulation||Section||Penalty Provision||Penalty Imposed||Date Sentenced|
|1||NA466/06||30 May 2005||28th November 2007||19(1) 19A(2)||3A(3)(b)(i)||$40,000.00||28th November 2007|
|Description of Breach(es)||
On 30 May 2005 at Narrogin Smoothjob Pty Ltd, being an employer failed to provide and maintain, as far as practicable, a working environment that did not expose its employees to a hazard, and by that failure caused the death of the deceased; contrary to sections 19(1) and 19A(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.
OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, On 30 May 2005 at Narrogin Smoothjob Pty Ltd, being a labour hire agent, and having a labour hire arrangement with Elderstone Nominees Pty Ltd to provide, for remuneration, workers to carry out work for Elderstone Nominees Pty Ltd in the course of Elderstone Nominees Pty Ltd's business, failed to provide and maintain, so far as practicable, a working environmnet in which those workers were not exposed to hazards, those being matters over which Smoothjob Pty Ltd had capacity to exercise control, and by that failure caused the death of the deceased; contrary to sections 23F, 19(1) and 19A(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.
The Accused is a labour hire agent in the business of providing employment services to its client Elderstone Nominees Pty Ltd t/a Hillside Abattoirs. Elderstone Nominees Pty Ltd operates an Abattoir in Boxsell Road in Narrogin. Under an agreement with Elderstone Nominees Pty Ltd, the Accused supplies approximately 50 workers employed by the Accused to work at that workplace.
Located in the basement area of the Abattoir there is what is known as the Inedible Products Processing Area, where animal products that are not suitable for consumption are sent for further processing.
The Inedible Products Processing Area contains the Paunch Room and the Skin Trimming Area. Within the Inedible Products Processing Area there are two augers (or screw conveyors) contained within u-shaped troughs that convey material through the area. The main auger commences in the Paunch Room and extends approximately 20.5 metres to the Skin Trimming Area. At this point a smaller auger meets the main auger and takes the material through the Skin Trimming Area out to a container outside the Inedible Products Processing Area. Neither the main auger nor the smaller auger extending through the Skin Trimming Area had any guarding that was capable of preventing access by any body part with the augers over the top of the trough. A mesh guard was in place over the auger motor, which was at the very end of the main auger in the Paunch Room. There was a lanyard running almost the entire length of the augers in the Inedible Product Processing Area that when tripped caused the augers to stop operating. The controls for both the Inedible Product Processing Area augers are located in the Paunch Room and the accused had a system in place whereby only the person working in the Paunch Room was to utilise the controls for the augers, although anyone could cause the augers to stop by tripping the lanyard along the length of the auger trough. Once the lanyard had been tripped, a reset button had to be activated before the augers could be restarted.
A Chute from the slaughter floor drops waste from the slaughter floor directly into the main auger near the beginning (motor end) of the main auger in the Paunch Room. At the relevant time there was a splashguard attached to the top of the auger trough extending up towards the bottom of that chute preventing material from falling outside of the auger trough. There was approximately 1/2 metre of unguarded auger trough between the auger motor and where the splashguard was located.
At the commencement of the main auger, near the motor end, there is a distance of approximately 280mm before the first flight (or blade). At time the fat waste became caught in this area and did not move forward along the auger, unless pushed up to the level of the first flight of the auger by some means. There was also a small hole near the bottom of the trough at the motor end of the main augers that was designed to allow excess water of fluids to drain from the auger trough. From time to time this hole became blocked and needed to be cleared by some means.
On 30 May 2005 the deceased, an employee of the accused, was working in the Paunch Room in the Inedible Products Processing Area. Two other employees of Smoothjob Pty Ltd were working in the Skin Trimming Area. At around 1pm one of the employees who was working in the Skin Trimming Area, noticed that the augers were not operating and shouted out to the deceased to start both the augers. When he received no response, the employee walked toward the Paunch Room to ask the deceased to start the augers. He saw the deceased caught in the main auger with his legs in the air protruding from the gap between the motor of the main auger and the splashguard of the chute from the slaughter floor, with hit body underneath the splashguard and his head protruding out of the auger on the other side of the splashguard. An ambulance was called and workers used oxyacetylene gear to remove the metal splashguard so as to free the deceased from the auger, however the deceased had died before the ambulance arrived.
It is not known how the deceased became caught in the main auger. If the Accused had not allowed the deceased to work in the Inedible Products Processing Area until such time as the auger was guarded so as to prevent access to the auger by any body part, the deceased could not have become caught in the auger.
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