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Prosecution Details

Defendant Wesfi Manufacturing Pty Ltd
Trading Name Not applicable
Section 19(1) and 19(6)
Regulation Not applicable
Offence Date Friday, 22 January 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 and in particular failed to provide and maintain plant such that, so far as was practicable, its employees were not exposed to hazards.

Background Details

The defendant carried on the business of manufacturing timber products, plywood and particleboard in Dardanup.

One of the items of plant at the Dardanup site was a samba saw, which was used to cut "jumbo" boards of timber, measuring 7 metres by 4 metres, into smaller sizes. The samba saw was fully automated to cut the jumbo boards according to patterns controlled by computer instructions. There were a large variety of different patterns which could be operated on the samba saw.

During the operation the push block carriage moved up and down the length of the samba saw according to the particular pattern. On 22 January 1999 the moving parts of the samba saw, and in particular the push block carriage, were completely exposed along the southern side of the saw. This gave rise to the risk of crushing injuries to persons coming into close proximity with the samba saw, and in particular in the gaps at the end of the saw where the infeed table was located.

The defendant was aware of such risks associated with the samba saw. A risk assessment had been carried out on the samba saw on 9 September 1998. On 22 January 1999, an independent maintenance contractor at the plant was killed, apparently while carrying out a "running inspection" of the samba saw. The contractor died as a result of crushing injuries when he came into contact with the push block carriage as it moved into the gap between the infeed table and the charging table.

Magistrate Calder stated that "As at and prior to 22 January 1999 WESFI had taken no measures, by means of physical barriers or by means of signage or express instruction to employees or contractors whom WESFI knew or ought to have known would or may be in relatively close proximity to the identified hazard arising from the moving parts of the saw, to prevent or mitigate the risk of harm to those persons arising from exposure to the moving parts of the saw."

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

Lead Image
Outcome Summary


Conviction Date 05 Sep 2001
Court Bunbury Court of Petty Sessions
Fine $7,500
Costs $5,300
Charge Number 431/00BU