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Prosecution Details

Defendant Brian Edward Wilson, Daphne May Wilson, Stephen Brian Wilson, Ian David Wilson
Trading Name BE & DM Wilson
Section 19(1)(a) x 4
Regulation Not Applicable
Offence Date Friday, 30 June 1995
Description of Breach(es)

Being employers of their employee at the workplace, of which they had the management or control, at Solai Forest Block, Solai 2, Solai Road via Manjimup, failed to provide and maintain a system of work such that, so far as was practicable, their employees were not exposed to a hazard.

Background Details

On 30 June 1995, the employee was felling a karri tree at which time a dead branch known as a "widow maker" fell out of the falling tree and struck him causing his sudden death. The branch that struck the employee had some years previous broken away from the tree he felled. The larger end had lodged in the fork of a branch and the other end had lodged in the fork of a tree some six metres to the south of the tree being felled.

It was found during the investigation that the defendants had failed to provide a system of work to ensure the employee was not exposed to a hazard. Some of the factors were:

* There was an inadequate system in place that would ensure that hazards are identified and marked or designated when the tree feller commences work.
* Inadequate supervision, to ensure that the employee followed and worked to basic rules of a tree feller.
* Failure to ensure a suitable communication system is provided and maintained in the event of an emergency.

The Magistrate commented that "the defendants have not blatantly disregarded any written instructions, or, indeed, any code of practice; but, rather, simply failed to comprehend the requirements of the legislation in relation to employee safety".

Outcome Summary convicted
Conviction Date 14 Feb 1997
Court Manjimup Magistrates Court
Fine $3000 each (total $12000)
Costs $625 each (total $2500)
Charge Number 391/96 (Wilson); 392/96 (Daphne); 393/96 (Stephen)