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Prosecution Details

Defendant Simon Peter Pratt
Section 20(1)(b), 20A(3) & 20A(3)(c)
Regulation 6.2(1) & 1.15(2)(a)
Offence Date 10 September 2013
Description of Breach(es)

Charge 1: Being an employee, failed to take reasonable care to avoid adversely affecting the safety or health of any other person through any act or omission at work, contrary to sections 20(1)(b) and 20A(3) of the Occupational Safety and Health act 1984.

Charge 2: The Accused, undertook high risk work, namely driving a truck mounted slewing crane without holding a high risk license for that work, contrary to Regulations 6.2(1) and 1.15(2)(a) of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996.

Background Details

Charge 1
Simon Peter Pratt was employed by Cranes R Us (WA) Pty Ltd (Cranes R Us) as a crane driver.
Cranes R Us was contracted by a building company to lift the steel lintels to the window and door frame areas at a construction site for a residential dwelling located in White Gum Valley (Site).
The Site is within an existing residential area and is surrounded by mature trees and established dwellings on both side of the street and rear of the Site. High voltage power lines are positioned at the front of the Site.
On 10 September 2013 Mr Pratt was operating the Hino Tadano TS-70M truck mounted slewing crane (Crane) at the Site.
Another Cranes R Us employee was acting as a dogman on the Site.
At approximately 7.30am on that day, Mr Pratt and the other employee arrived at the Site and conducted a visual site assessment. During this assessment Mr Pratt and the other employee saw the overhead high voltage power lines at the front of the Site.
The other employee then moved some sand and scaffolding equipment so that Mr Pratt could reverse the Crane between the electrical meter box and a skip bin at the left hand corner of the Site.
Once the Crane was set up and the manual boom extended, the other employee hand signaled to Mr Pratt that the locking pin had been inserted at the front of the boom. The other employee was standing in the middle of the footpath at the front of the Site between the two brick piers of the next door neighbour's driveway.
Mr Pratt then boomed directly upward towards the power lines while lowering the hook simultaneously. The other employee grabbed the hook to prevent it from striking the bonnet of a vehicle parked on the section of the driveway that was on the road side of the footpath.
As Mr Pratt raised the boom of the Crane, the other employee yelled "Simon, you're getting too close" and put his hand up to tell him to stop.
The other employee let go of the hook as he did not think that Mr Pratt was going to stop before the boom made contact with the overhead power lines. However, Mr Pratt did stop and boomed back down so the other employee again took hold of the hook.
The Crane's boom then commenced rising upward again until the end of the boom came to be at a height that was in line with the overhead power lines and at a distance of approximately 2 meters from the lines.
The boom then slewed away from the Site, toward the power lines. As the Crane was getting closer to the power lines the other employee started to let go of the hook, however, the Crane made contact with the power lines and an arc flashover occurred.
The other employee received an electric shock. He fell to the ground and was taken to hospital by ambulance. He was monitored in hospital due to a heart arrhythmia but was released the same day. He sustained burns to the palm of his right hand and the underside of the joints of the big toes on both feet with blisters that developed a few days after the accident between the webbing of multiple toes on both feet.
The clearance distance for a high voltage overhead power line is 6 metres. This is prescribed in the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 and was marked on a sticker in the Crane cab where Mr Pratt was sitting.
At all material times Mr Pratt's high risk work licence (which is required to drive a crane) was expired.
By slewing the boom in a manner which made contact with the overhead high voltage power lines, Mr Pratt has failed to take reasonable care not to adversely affect other persons.

Charge 2

On 30 July 2003 Mr Pratt was granted a Certificate of Competency for slewing mobile cranes up to 20 tonnes (C2 class) (Certificate).

On 1 October 2007, the State based certificate of competency licensing regime for high risk work changed to a nationally consistent High Risk Work licensing regime.

Certificate of competency holders were given a transition period of 12 months after the expiry of their certificates to convert their certificates to a High Risk Work Licence.

During this transition period, the certificate holder was not permitted to work during that period until they had submitted an application to WorkSafe to convert their certificates to a High Risk Work Licence.

Mr Pratt's Certificate expired on 30 June 2012.

Mr Pratt did not submit an application to WorkSafe to convert his Certificate to a High Risk Work Licence.

On 10 September 2013 when Mr Pratt was operating the Crane at the Site he did not hold a High Risk Work Licence to operate the Crane.


Outcome Summary

The Accused entered a guilty plea and was convicted. The Magistrate fined the Accused $2,500.00 (charge 1) and $1,000.00 (charge 2) ordered costs of $688.50

Conviction Date 04 Mar 2016
Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Fremantle
Fine Charge 1- $2500 Charge 2 - $1000
Costs $688.50
Charge Number FR1127/16 FR1128/16