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Prosecution Details

Defendant Metal Craft (Aust) Pty Ltd
Trading Name Not Applicable
Section 19(1)(a)
Regulation Not Applicable
Offence Date Tuesday, 2 April 1996
Description of Breach(es)

Metal Craft (Aust) Pty Ltd being an employer, failed to, so far as was practicable, provide and maintain a working environment in which one of its employees, was not exposed to a hazard, and by that failure, caused serious harm to that employee.

Background Details

On 2 April 1996 a metal plate end section, being one third of the roof of a cylindrical vessel weighing 775kg had fallen on the (injured) employee as it was lifted by an overhead crane being operated by the (injured) employee. A lifting lug had broken off the end plate when it was being lifted by an overhead crane. It had broken off due to a weld failure. The employee received a fractured pelvis.

The Magistrate acknowledged that in this case there was no doubt that the manner in which the operation took place had led to severe consequences, in light of the actual injuries suffered and the potential for such injury. However, in his view the actual way in which the breach occurred was considered far less a serious matter in terms of the degree of culpability. On the facts that were before him, it was his view that the fault on the part of Defendant was attached to the supervision of the work, and not the actual scheme of operation. He indicated that this was an important distinction, as it is one thing to have an unsafe system operating continually, whereby that system itself is actually unsafe, and it is another to have a system of supervision in place that fails in one instance due to a diversion of some sort. He acknowledged that the business had no prior convictions or serious accidents.

The Magistrate also acknowledged the seriousness of the obligations imposed upon employers by the legislation, and felt that a general deterrent was necessary to pass on to the community at large that this type of incident should not occur again.

Outcome Summary convicted
Conviction Date 05 Jun 1997
Court Perth Court of Petty Sessions
Fine $4,000
Costs Nil
Charge Number 36155/97