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Prosecution Details

Offender Giacci Bros Pty Ltd


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Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 BY2197/2009 21 November 2006 9th October 2009 3A(3)(b)(i) $100,000.00 9th October 2009
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employer, failed to, so far as practicable, provide and maintain a working environment in which employees of the employer were not exposed to hazards and by that failure caused serious harm; contrary to sections 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 Giacci Bros Pty Ltd (ACN 008 708 361]. The Accused is one of various companies held by the Giacci Family.

This particular arm of the family's holdings employed a range of people to work at premises located at Lot 56 Sutherland Way, Picton, near Bunbury ("the workplace"].

The workplace was owned by Giacci Holdings Pty Ltd, a related company. The workplace was ostensibly operated by Lido Limestone Pty Ltd ("Lido"), another related entity.

The business operated from the workplace was Lido's business and the plant used to perform works at that workplace was owned by Lido. However, work was performed at this workplace by employees of the Accused. The work performed at the workplace was the production and sale of reconstituted limestone blocks.

The injured person worked at the workplace. Amongst his usual tasks was the use of a Finlay BME block making machine ("the machine"). The machine was owned by Lido and had been owned by Lido since May 2005. Another similar BME machine was already on site.

The injured person's duties included using both these machines to manufacture limestone blocks.

All parts and servicing invoices for these machines were billed to Lido. Giacci employees arranged for the maintenance and servicing of these machines.

The machines took quarried limestone and mixed it with cement and water and formed this into blocks of various sizes. This was done by powerful hydraulics in the operative part of the machine which were contained in a caged area so that they could not be readily accessed.

The machine could be set to manual or automatic. When set to automatic, electronic "eyes" controlled the operation of the hydraulics automatically filling and pressing the block moulds with mixed product. When set to manual the electronic eyes were disabled and the process was controlled by manual controls from the cab of the machine.

The machine had a captive key system with 2 keys, only one of which was intended to be on the machine at any one time. The intention of having only 1 captive key on the machine at any one time was that the key for the hydraulic power had to be removed so that the caged hydraulic area could be accessed, thus preventing anyone from being exposed to the moving parts of the machine whilst they were under power.

The only time both keys were intended by the manufacturer to have been in operation were during block mould changes so the hydraulics could be raised and lowered to fit and remove the moulds for the purposes of major maintenance and only then under adequate supervision.

The injured person received a general safety induction and an induction and safety assessment in regards to driver fatigue whilst working for the Accused. However, neither included any formal training on either machine. He was never shown an operator's manual for either machine. The operator's manual for the machine did not form any part of his induction, although it was on site.

He was shown how to use the old machine by another employee. This included being shown how to clean the machine when debris and product dried and clogged the moulds. This was done to avoid making imperfectly formed blocks. This required the moulds and hopper to be moved into an accessible position and then cleaned by chipping off the solidified limestone debris. This required the person to be in the caged area.

The injured person was never shown to remove the key whilst performing this task. He was shown how to clean the machine with the power set to manual. Both keys were required to be used to perform this task in this fashion.

At the time the new machine was received, the site manager received instruction from the BME technician accompanying the new machine. He and another employee underwent a written assessment highlighting the risks of using this machine.

Although the injured person was employed at this time and appears to have been expected to use the machine at that time, he did not receive this instruction or assessment.

The second key for the machine was usually kept in a drawer in the office on site, along with the operator's manual. There was no system of recording the use of this key or formal key control in place.

Approximately 2-3 months prior to the accident this practice of keeping the key in the office had been either abandoned or irregularly followed. At the time of the accident the second key was on the machine and not in the office as it was supposed to have been.

The injured person attended work on 21 November 2006. He had not been present the day before. Another employee had been using the machine to make blocks the day before. Both keys were on the machine when the injured person arrived for work. He started up the new machine. This required him to short circuit the drive motor on top of the machine with a screwdriver. The ignition switch for the drive motor had been broken for some time. He had advised the site manager of this but it had not been repaired.

After starting the machine he went to fill the machine with product. He had switched the machine to automatic so the machine would start making blocks immediately. As he went to fill the machine he noticed it needed cleaning. He proceeded to clean the machine from the previous day's use. Both keys were on the machine at the time, one in the hydraulic power switch and the other in the cage door accessing the hydraulic and operative area of the machine.

With the hydraulic power switched to "on" he accessed the hydraulic area to clean the hopper and moulds. As he cleaned these parts of the machine the hydraulics engaged and the feed tray of the machine moved causing him to fall under the moving parts of the machine.

The machine's electronic eyes recognised him as product ready for processing and engaged. As the machine went through its block making cycle his right leg was torn from his body at the hip. He called for help but could not be heard over the noise of the machine. He had the presence of mind to call for help on his mobile.

He called the site manager who was also on site. The site manager attended and turned the hydraulic power to the machine off by removing the key from the hydraulic power switch in the cab. The site manager called for medical assistance which later arrived and conveyed the injured person to hospital. He survived but with a complete traumatic amputation of his right leg. He was 19 years old at the time.

It was practicable for the Accused to:

a. ensure that employees required to use the block making machine received adequate instruction and training in the use of that item of plant, including the safety features of that plant as provided by the manufacturer; and/or
b. ensure that employees received adequate supervision in the performance of their duties to ensure an employee was competent to use plant at the workplace; and/or
c. ensure that the system of key control recommended by the manufacturer was followed and that access to the second key for the block making machine was supervised and adequately controlled; and/or
d. prohibit employees from using the block making machine until either:

i. the above measures were in place; and/or
ii. improved safety features had been fitted to the machine by the machine's owner.

Outcome Summary

Plead Guilty

Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Bunbury
Costs $1,500.70

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