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Prosecution Details

Defendant Komala Pty Ltd
Trading Name Oriental Foods Wholesalers & Co
Section 19(1) and 19(7)
Regulation Not Applicable
Offence Date Thursday, 1 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 employees were not exposed to hazards in contravention of section 19(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 and by that contravention caused an employee.

Background Details

The defendant is a food company which manufactures various noodle products and grows bean sprouts.

An employee was mixing dough ingredients in order to make the noodles. The dough mixing machine consisted of a stainless steel mixing bin with a lid. Inside the mixing bin, at the base, were two rotating shafts one behind the other. The shafts were fitted with spikes which mixed flour and a mixture of water and various other materials. When ready the mixing bin was opened and the dough mixture was allowed to drop through a hopper where it was fed into a machine that rolled and cut it ready for further processing.

On 1 October 1998, the shaft closest to the bin was missing a spike on the far left-hand end of the shaft as indicated by the knife in the photograph. The absence of the spoke caused a portion of the flour and water mixture not to mix together properly. The spike had been missing for approximately four weeks prior to 1 October 1998.

In order to incorporate the unmixed portion into the dough mixture, it was necessary for the machine's operator to use a plastic scraper. The incorporation of the unmixed portion into the dough mixture had to be done whilst the mixing shafts were rotating as the defendant's employees had been instructed not to turn the machine off once the mixing process had started in case the dough mixture spoilt. On 1 October 1998, the injured employee was mixing a batch of dough using the dough mixing machine. As he attempted to introduce the unmixed portion of dough into the dough mixture using the plastic scarper, his right hand became entangled by the spikes on the front mixing shaft. He attempted to turn off the machine but was unable to do so because the machine was not fitted with an emergency stop button which could be reached from the operator's position.

The employee's right arm had to be amputated through the proximal third of the forearm.

The matter was heard in the Perth Court of Petty Sessions before His Worship Mr K Moore SM.

The defendant pleaded not guilty. The penalty was imposed under section 19(7). That provision provides for a maximum penalty of $200,000.

Lead Image
Outcome Summary


Conviction Date 17 Nov 1999
Court Perth Court of Petty Sessions
Fine $10,000
Costs $1,632
Charge Number 27107/99