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Prosecution Details

Offender Skilled Group Limited


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Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 FR12712/07 31 August 2005 16th May 2008 3A(3)(b)(i) $27,500.00 16th May 2008
Description of Breach(es)

Where under a labour hire arrangement work was carried out for remuneration by a worker, for a client of the accused, namely Bestbar Pty Ltd, in the course of Bestbar Pty Ltd's trade or business, in relation to matters over which the accused had the capacity to exercise control, the accused failed to, so far as practicable, provide and maintain a working environment in which its employee, was not exposed to hazards, and by that failure caused serious harm, contrary to sections 23F, 19(1) and 19A(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

The Accused is in the labour hire business and employs over 2500 people who work for its clients who since about July 2004 have included Bestbar Pty Ltd ("Bestbar"). The Accused has offices throughout Australia with eleven of those offices in Western Australia.

Bestbar was engaged in the manufacture and supply of steel reinforcing products, which in some cases involved the manufacture of reinforcement bars. This work was carried out in Bestbar's two sheds. One of the sheds was known as the mesh shed and the other as the rebar shed. The workers supplied to Bestbar by the accused worked in both of these sheds.

On 7 January 2005, an employee of the Accused began work at Bestbar as a machine operator in the rebar shed.

His duties included operating the radius machine which had been operated by Bestbar since about 2000.

The radius machine manual stated that the machine had to be guarded by an interlocked guard which would shut the machine down if opened. The radius machine did not have a guard on it at all until about mid August 2005 when a guard was placed on it. However, the guard was not interlocked so the machine could operate with the guard open. Also some tasks on the radius machine could not be performed with the guard closed.

When the employee arrived for nightshift on 31 August 2005 the guard on the radius machine was open. He left the guard in that position because it was not possible to shape the steel bars into circles if the guard was closed.

By about 12.30 am he had used the radius machine to bend between 300 and 400 steel bars into circles when his glove was caught by a steel bar and his gloved hand was dragged into the pinch point between the bar and the idler roller which the bar is bent around.

He pulled off his glove and saw that three of his fingers were cut and crushed. One finger was only partially attached to his hand. He was then taken to Fremantle Hospital where he underwent reconstructive surgery to reattach his right ring finger and middle finger, and surgery to repair broken bones in three of the fingers on his right hand. He suffered a permanent loss of sensation in the tip of his right middle finger. This falls within the definition of serious harm contained in s3(3) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

By 25 September 2005 the Accused had still not visited the premises of Bestbar to ensure that the radius machine had been properly guarded, and it continued to allow its employees to work with the machines in the rebar factory at Bestbar.

Sometime after the offence an employee of Bestbar manufactured and fitted a guard over the radius machine which did not allow the machine to operate if it was not closed, and allowed steel bars to be bent into circles whilst the guard was closed.


By about 12.30 am.

Outcome Summary

Plead Guilty

Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Fremantle
Costs $1,800

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