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Prosecution Details

Defendant Exceleng Corporation Pty Ltd
Trading Name Alltype Engineering Services
Section 19(1) and 19(7)
Regulation Not applicable
Offence Date Monday, 25 October 1999
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 serious harm, contrary to section 19(7) of the Act.

Background Details

The defendant operated a fabrication workshop which, among other things, constructed "lobster back" pipes. These are large pipes made out of steel, with a bend in them.

On 25 October 1999 the defendant was the employer of a first year boilermaker apprentice. He had been employed by the defendant since January 1999 and was 17 years old.

The apprentice was carrying out work on a piece of pipe which was 1400mm in diameter, in order to make a "lobster back". This piece of pipe was almost fully cut through in the middle of its length, although there was one piece still joining each section of the pipe, forming a type of hinge between the two sections.

The apprectice wanted to lift the cut pipe from a horizontal position into a vertical position, by means of an overhead crane. He attempted to do so using a lifting clamp attached to chains hanging from the overhead crane. He clamped this onto the rim of one section of the pipe. He proposed to lift the pipe into a vertical position by using the overhead crane to raise one end. This would cause the two sections of the pipe to come apart, except at the point where they remained joined.

After the apprentice had commenced lifting, a nearby labourer, employed by the defendant, noticed that the pipe appeared to be unstable and believed that it would roll onto the apprentice, and therefore went across to the pipe to assist. He placed an old car tyre in the position where he thought the pipe would come to rest when upright. The purpose of this was to protect the rim of the pipe from damage. At the same time his left hand was on the middle rim of one section of the pipe, where the two sections of pipe had come apart. This hand was to support the pipe as it was lowered.

The clamp on the top section of the pipe then failed to grip, and the pipe fell into the vertical position, while the labourer's hand was between the two sections which had become separated. His left hand was jammed between the two sections.

At the time of the accident the work being carried out was supposed to be supervised. The person who was meant to be supervising was approximately 40 metres way when the accident occurred.

The apprentice had no qualifications as a dogger or rigger. There were two certificated dogmen or riggers present at the factory at the time of the accident. One of these was working metres away from the accident but had not been asked to assist with the task.

In imposing a penalty Magistrate Bennett-Borlase took into account the fact that the defendant had no previous convictions and no prohibition notices. Her Worship noted that the onus on employers is very stringent. Her Worship took into account the steps the defendant has taken since the accident to minimise any dangers to employees.

The defendant pleaded guilty. The penalty was imposed under section 19(7) - being the maximum $200,000 penalty

Outcome Summary


Conviction Date 17 Aug 2001
Court Perth Court of Petty Sessions
Fine $30,000
Costs $607.70
Charge Number 51665/00