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Prosecution Details

Defendant Fremantle Steam Laundry Pty Ltd
Trading Name FSL Systems
Section 19(1)(a) and 19(6)
Regulation Not Applicable
Offence Date Tuesday, 2 December 1997
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employer, failed so far as was practicable to provided and maintain a working environment in which its employees were not exposed to hazards and in particular failed to provide and maintain a system of work such that, so far as was practicable, its employees were not exposed to hazards

Background Details

During an attempt to remove a mat that had become entangled between the conveyor belt and top roller of the recently installed conveyor and dryer system as shown in the photograph, the left hand of an employee of the defendant, was crushed by the conveyor when it started unexpectedly.

At the time of the accident a rubber mat that was being fed into the dryer became entangled in the conveyor, causing it to jam. The injured employee unbolted the conveyor from the floor and moved it to allow access to the end of the conveyor that feeds into the dryer. In its normal position the end of the conveyor is adequately guarded to prevent access to the nip points.

The machine was then switched to automatic to allow the dryer to complete its process. When the process was complete, and the mats were tipped out of the back of the dryer, the injured person decided to have another attempt at removing the mat that was obstructing the conveyor. He thought that he had switched the dryer to manual. During this attempt to remove the mat, the conveyor started unexpectedly and his hand became caught in the conveyor.

The defendant was originally convicted on 13 September 1999 and fined $10,000 with costs of $1100.

His Worship Mr I G Brown SM stated that "the company, in my assessment, having regard to the alleged hazard which is obvious from the evidence, should have required the engineer to attend and follow the isolation procedures, before any attempt was made to remove any article which has been entangled in the conveyor."

An appeal was lodged against the decision on the grounds that there was no evidence to prove the charge beyond reasonable doubt and the penalty on the ground that it was manifestly excessive. On 11 February 2000 His Honour Justice Heenan delivered his decision. Inter alia he said - "The transcript shows that his Worship gave careful consideration to all of those factors. In the circumstances, I am far from convinced that the fine which he imposed was excessive. Indeed, in my view, it was entirely appropriate. The appeal, therefore, will be dismissed."

The defendant pleaded not guilty. The penalty was imposed under section 19(6).

Lead Image
Outcome Summary


Conviction Date 11 Feb 2000
Court Fremantle Court of Petty Sessions
Fine $10,000
Costs $1,100
Charge Number 205/99