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Prosecution Details

Offender Schutz DSL (Australia) Pty Ltd


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Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 FR12453/08 28 December 2006 7th May 2009 3A(3)(b)(i) $30,000.00 7th May 2009
Description of Breach(es)

On 28 December 2006 at North Coogee Schutz DSL (Australia) Pty Ltd (then known as DSL Drum Services Pty Ltd), being a labour hire client under a labour hire arrangement with a labour hire agent, namely Perth Recruitment Services Pty Ltd, where work was carried out for remuneration by workers for the Accused in the course of the Accused's trade or business, failed to provide and maintain, so far as practicable, a working environment in which workers were not exposed to hazards, being matters over which the Accused had capacity to exercise control, 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 a registered company under the Corporations Act 2001 and is known as Schutz DSL (Australia) Pty Ltd (ACN 009 069 907) (formerly known as DSL Drum Services Pty Ltd).

The Accused operates a drum packaging and cleaning business at 152 Cockburn Road, North Coogee.

The cleaning work consists of removing greasy residue from inside drums so they can be re-packaged or recycled.

The Accused handles both steel and plastic drums in separate areas at the workplace.

The workplace consists of approximately 5 acres of land, administration offices and a shed where drums are cleaned.

Part of the workplace that handles steel drums is a shed containing an electric slat type conveyor system ("the slat conveyor"), approximately 13 metres long. This abuts an idle roller conveyor of approximately 7 metres length. These conveyors are used to transfer drums from one side of the pre-wash cleaning shed to the other.

The slat conveyor had an unguarded 1150mm wide walkway that ran the length of the conveyor and sat approximately 250-300mm lower than the open edge of the conveyor. During the cleaning process this walkway became very slippery and was meant to be washed down at the end of each day.

The Accused had an arrangement with Perth Recruitment Services Pty Ltd ("PRS") for PRS to provide workers to work at the workplace. PRS is a Fremantle based labour hire firm established in 2004.

A Brazilian national who was employed by PRS and, pursuant to an arrangement between PRS and the Accused, was sent by PRS to work at the Accused's workplace.

He was employed and sent to work as a labourer/factory hand to un/load drums from trucks. PRS' understanding of providing him to the Accused was that he would only be used to handle plastic drums.

He started at the Accused on 21 December 2006.

No-one from PRS accompanied him to the workplace on his first day.

It appears that he was provided a general induction by PRS but no specific information was provided to him regarding the environment he would be working in or that his work was to be limited to any type of drum or area. PRS assumed that the Accused would perform this induction.

On arriving at the workplace he was not provided any induction by the Accused but was given a set of gloves and instructed to start un/loading drums.

On 22 December he was instructed by the Accused to work in the steel drum area.

This required him to work near the conveyors in that area.

He was given limited instruction in regards to working in the proximity of these machines.

This limited instruction did not include any instruction in how to use these machines as he was not expected to use them.

He was not given any information regarding the hazards that working in proximity to such machines presented.

On 28 December 2006 he was working in the steel drum area on the walkway next to the slat conveyor. The electric slat conveyor was operating at the time. It is unclear how this conveyor came to be operating.

He slipped on the walkway and fell onto the conveyors at the point where the electric slat conveyor met the idle roller conveyors. Both his feet and legs became entangled in the conveyor.

The emergency stop button was located 7 metres from where he was trapped between the conveyors. He could not reach this button.

He yelled to his colleagues who stopped the conveyor and sought assistance to free him.

The Accused's employees helped remove the injured person by breaking off the last roller of the idle roller conveyor. The injured person was conveyed by ambulance to hospital.

He suffered severe injures to both his legs and feet. His left calf was flensed from his lower leg exposing the bones of his lower left leg from about mid calf to his heel. His right leg received severe lacerations and his left ankle was also fractured. His injuries required multiple surgeries and skin grafts which resulted in noticeable scarring and muscle deformity.

His injuries include:

a. deformity due to muscle loss;
b. loss of sensation in his left foot (heel) which will impact on his physical activity and daily living;
c. an ongoing limited ability to stand for any extended duration of time; and
d. the scarring and grafted areas will be susceptible to recurrent swelling, irritability and sunlight.

Subsequently, the Accused made alterations to the slat conveyor in the following ways:

a. addition of multiple emergency stops along the course of the conveyor;
b. imposition of a physical barrier and guarding along the length of the conveyor;
c. fixing of warning signs along the conveyor; and
d. repair/replacement and re-labelling of conveyor stop and start signs/buttons.

These alterations were done within 14 days following the injury.

At all times it was practicable for the Accused to have had these mechanisms in place prior to the injury occurring.

At the time of the injury occurring no signs warning of the dangers of entanglement in the conveyor were present.

Outcome Summary

Plead Guilty

Court Fremantle Magistrates Court
Costs $1,420.70

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