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Prosecution Details

Defendant Matthew James John Turnbull
Section 20(1)(b) amd 20(4)
Regulation Not applicable
Offence Date Sunday, 18 March 2001
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employee, failed to take reasonable care to avoid adversely affecting the safety of another person, through his act of instructing another employee to melt shortening on the stove.

Background Details

On 18 March 2001 the defendant was employed by as the assistanct Manager of a fast food outlet.

The defendant instructed a 14 year old employee to melt some shortening in a pot on a stove. There were two pots on the stove, one that was clean and one that contained about 10cm of oil. The young employee was lowering the shortening into the pot with the oil in it when it slipped and dropped into the pot. The boiling oil splashed up onto the right side of his face and into his eye, as well as onto his hand, arms and chest.

The Australia wide policy of the employer in relation to the melting of shortening was that it was a function that was to be carried out by management only. Further, shortening was not to be melted on the stove. It was to be melted in the corn cooker. The procedures for melting shortening in the corn cooker had been in place since November 1990 and had been the subject of memos since that time. The defendant had been employed by the employer since January 1992 and had been an assistant store manager for about four and a half years.

The defendant admitted that he knew the company policy was that shortening should not be melted on the stove and indicated that it was an error in judgment on his part to depart from the procedure. He said the reason for the departure was because of time commitments.

The injured employee suffered third degree burns to his face and right cornea. He recovered fully from his injuries.

The defendant pleaded guilty. The penalty was imposed under section 20(4).

Outcome Summary


Conviction Date 10 Dec 2001
Court Fremantle Court of Petty Sessions
Fine $750
Costs $187.70
Charge Number 11467/01