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Prosecution Details

Defendant Hexan Holdings Pty Ltd
Trading Name Whiteland Milling
Section 19(1) and 19(7)
Offence Date Tuesday, 21 January 2003
Description of Breach(es)

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 and by that failure caused serious harm to an employee; contrary to sections 19(1) and 19(7) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

The defendant operated a timber mill at Busselton.

On 21 January 2003 an employee began operating a docking saw. Whilst operating the docking saw a timber off cut became jammed in the channel in which the docking saw blade operates. The first time this jam occurred the employee operated the saw to try and cut the jammed timber so that it would free itself from the channel. This caused the timber to break apart and fragments shot off the saw into the general work area.

A second jam then ocurred and the employee decided to remove the blockage with his left hand. The employee reached into the channel and as he took hold of the piece of timber the saw blade began to operate. It is believed the employee inadvertently activated the control switch with his right hand. The saw blade made contact with the employee's left hand resulting in an amputation injury to part of his thumb and index finger.

The docking saw had a guard in place that extended 300 millimetres to the left of the saw blade. The Australian Standard for Safeguarding of Machinery requires that in these circumstances where arm movement is only limited at the shoulder or armpit the minimum length of guarding for reach around should be at least 850 millimetres.

The defendant pleaded guilty.

Outcome Summary Convicted
Conviction Date 30 Jan 2004
Court Perth Court of Petty Sessions
Fine $12,500
Costs $257.70
Charge Number BT957/03