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Prosecution Details

Defendant Australian Laboratory Services Pty Ltd
Trading Name Not Applicable
Section 19(1) [1] and 19(3) [2]
Regulation Not Applicable
Offence Date 19 March 1996 [1], On or after 16 January 1996 [2]
Description of Breach(es)

[1] Being an employer, failed to provide and maintain, so far as was practicable, a working environment in which its employees were not exposed to hazards in that it failed to provide and maintain plant such that, so far as was practicable, its employees were not exposed to hazards and, to the extent that it was not practicable to avoid the presence of hazards at the workplace, failed to provide its employees with such adequate personal protective clothing as was practicable to protect them against those hazards.

[2] Being an employer failed to forthwith notify the WorkSafe Western Australia Commissioner of an injury to one of its employees as specified in regulation 201(1)(e).

Background Details

On 2 January 1996 an employee received hydrofluoric acid burns while performing acid digestion of mineral samples. At the time of the accident beakers were placed on hot plates to evaporate off the acids and during a visual inspection the employee knocked over 3 beakers containing the acid solution. The personal protective equipment worn by the employee at the time of the accident was a full-length plastic apron, safety glass, surgical rubber gloves, steel capped leather boots and a laboratory coat.

The employee informed their supervisor, hosed herself down with water, took calcium tablets and applied calcium gluconate gel. The employee felt severe pain in one foot, was admitted to hospital and was absent from work for a month. The accident was not notified to WorkSafe.

The inadequate systems of work were:

* the beakers on the hot plate were inadequate in that they were not restrained by cup supports; and
* the ppe worn by employees was inadequate in that adequate foot protection was not worn, ie rubber boots and no sleeve protectors (PVC) were worn.

Outcome Summary convicted
Conviction Date 30 May 1997
Court Joondalup Court of Petty Sessions
Fine $5000 [1] and $1500 [2]
Costs $525
Charge Number 6421/97 [1] and 6422/97 [2]