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Prosecution Details

Defendant Industrial Galvanizers Corporation Pty Ltd
Trading Name Industrial Galvanizers (WA)
Section 19(1) and 19(6)
Regulation Not Applicable
Offence Date Friday, 30 October 1998
Description of Breach(es)

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 in that insofar as it was not practicable to avoid the presence of a hazard at the workplace, namely contact with sodium hydroxide, it failed to provide such adequate personal protective clothing and equipment to its employee as was practicable to protect him against that hazard.

Background Details

On the morning of 30 October 1998 a person was instructed by his supervisor to enter a 2.450 metre deep holding tank to remove the liquid sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) residue from the bottom of the tank.

To perform this removal work the supervisor provided the person with a small drum, and instructed him to use the drum to decant the caustic soda liquid into a 44 gallon drum. The supervisor also provided him with some rags and instructed him to use them to soak up the liquid that was left on the bottom of the tank.

It was during this task that the liquid caustic soda came into contact with the injured persons left forearm and hand, as shown in the photograph, and also an area on his right leg. This contact resulted in chemical burns so severe that the injured person was conveyed to Royal Perth Hospital where subsequent medical surgery and skin grafting was required. The injured person was off work for about 6 weeks.

The defendant failed to provide adequate personal protective clothing and equipment such as chemical goggles, safety helmet, face shield, PVC gloves and PVC jacket and trousers.

On 15 September 1999 the defendant was fined $20,000 with $575 in costs. The defendant unsuccessfully appealed against the severity of the fine. The appeal was dismissed by Justice Wheeler of the Supreme Court on 1 December 1999 (citation [1999] WACSA 282)

The defendant initially pleaded guilty. The penalty was imposed under section 19(6).

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Outcome Summary


Conviction Date 01 Dec 1999
Court Perth Court of Petty Sessions
Fine $20,000
Costs $575
Charge Number 33667/99