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Prosecution Details

Defendant Qantas Airways Ltd
Trading Name Not Applicable
Section 19(1) and 19(6)
Regulation 4.44(1) [2]
Offence Date Monday, 13 January 1997
Description of Breach(es)

[1] On the 13th day of January 1997 at Perth Airport Qantas Airways Ltd, being an employer, failed, so far as was practicable, to provide and maintain a working environment in which its employee was not exposed to hazards and in particular:

(a) failed to provide and maintain plant and systems of work such that, so far as was practicable, its employee was not exposed to hazards; and

(b) failed to provide such information, instruction, and training to its employee as was necessary to enable him to perform his work in such a manner that he was not exposed to hazards,

and by that contravention of section 19(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health act 1984 caused serious harm to its employee.

[2] Being a person who at a workplace at which there was powered mobile plant, namely a Taylor-Dunn electric cart, was an employer failed to ensure in relation to that powered mobile plant that, where there was a risk that an object may come into contact with the operator of the plant from the front, side or rear of the plant then, as far as practicable, the risk was limited by the provision of an appropriate structure that protected the operator.

Background Details

While using the front part of an electric cart as a work stand for inspecting the engines of a Boeing 767 aircraft, the employee slipped and accidentally depressed the accelerator pedal of the electric cart, the electric cart moved forwards towards the engine, which struck the employee pinning him to the cart. As a result the employee received a tear injury to the thoracic aorta; left haemothorix; fractures of the left third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh ribs; a flail chest; a fracture dislocation of the T8/9 vertebrae; and permanent paraplegia below the T10 spinal cord level.

The hazard to which the employee was exposed was the risk of injury to the person as a result of the employee being struck by an object while sitting or standing in the front part of a Taylor-Dunn electric cart when the electric cart was moving.

His Worship, Mr Malone SM, when sentencing said "I have reduced the fine by 30% because it was appropriately conceded that the plea of guilty was a significant mitigating factor and the defendant company is of good corporate character. While some regard can be had to post accidents remedial measures put in place it seems to me that attempting to prevent the recurrence of the tragic consequences of this accident was necessary and responsible."

The defendant pleaded guilty to the section 19(1) charge and the regulation 4.44(1) charge was withdrawn. The penalty was imposed under section 19(6).

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Outcome Summary


Conviction Date 15 Nov 1999
Court Perth Court of Petty Sessions
Fine $7000 [1] and withdrawn [2]
Costs Nil
Charge Number 10439/98 [1] and 10440/98 [2]