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Prosecution Details

Defendant Electronics Sheetmetal Pty Ltd
Trading Name MSS Production Engineers
Regulation 4.37(1)(h)
Offence Date Between 1/9/2002 and 24/10/2002
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employer at a workplace, failed to ensure, as far as was practicable, that a guard provided for the purpose of regulation 4.37 of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 made under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 was kept in position while the plant was operated; contrary to regulation 4.37(1)(h) of the Regulations.

Background Details

The defendant conducts a sheet metal fabrication business operating out of premises at Malaga and employs several persons who work at that premises.

Located on the premises was an omega drop saw. Between 1 September 2002 and approximately 23 October 2002 the guard on the omega drop saw was not functioning properly. The grub screw that secures the guard's control rod idler arm was missing and the guard was held in place by a piece of wire. The normal functioning of the guard with the grub screw in place was that the guard covered the blade and then when the saw was brought downwards in order to cut something, the guard automatically retracted to expose the blade and enable the cut to be performed. With the grub screw missing, the guard remained in the position covering the blade and was not able to be retracted, therefore making the drop saw unable to be used. In order to allow the saw to be used, the guard had been retracted and held in position with a piece of wire so that the blade was exposed at all times.

On 22 or 23 of October 2002 an employee of the defendant was using the Omega drop saw when the piece of wire broke causing the guard to drop down onto the material which was being cut. The employee reported this to the foreman. The broken wire was replaced as a temporary measure to enable the job to be completed and then following the job the grub screw was replaced, allowing the guard to return to its normal operating position of covering the blade when the saw is in the upward position, and exposing the blade so that it can execute a cut when the blade is dropped downwards onto the material to be cut.

The ease with which the wire was replaced with a grub screw indicates that it was practicable for the Defendant to ensure that the guard was kept in position by using a grub screw rather than a piece of wire to secure the guard's control rod idler arm. It was practicable for the defendant to have had systems in place of checking or inspecting the guard at regular intervals to ensure that it was operating correctly and was kept in its proper position when operating, and it was practicable for the defendant to have had a system in place requiring employees to report any problem with a guard of plant including where it was not operating correctly or not kept in its proper position when in operation.

The defendant pleaded guilty.

Outcome Summary Convicted
Conviction Date 27 Aug 2004
Court Perth Court of Petty Sessions
Fine $1,500
Costs $178.45
Charge Number 35930/04