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Prosecution Details

Defendant Cord Nominees Pty Ltd
Trading Name Hardchrome Sales
Regulation 5.23(1)
Offence Date Between 1/9/2001 and 26/6/2002
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employer at a workplace where the health of a person was at risk as a result of his exposure at the workplace to a hazardous substance, namely inorganic chromium, failed to ensure that health surveillance of the type set out in column 2 of schedule 5.3 of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 made under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 was provided at no cost to the person and was supervised by an appointed medical practitioner; contrary to regulation 5.23(1) of the Regulations

Background Details

The defendant operates an electroplating business and employs a number of people to perform work at its premises in Welshpool. At that premises there are two tanks containing chromic acid (otherwise known as inorganic chromium) in which metal parts are dipped in order to chrome plate them.

The defendant adds a fume suppressant to the chromic acid. Although there is no extraction system the factory is well ventilated by cross-breezes. The defendant provided dust masks and rubber gloves for employees to wear but did not enforce the wearing of the dust masks.

The injured person commenced work at the defendant's premises on 5 January 2001 and became a direct employee of the defendant on 14 June 2001. At that time he was 19 years of age. His duties included work with, and in proximity to, the chromic acid tanks, and as a result of these tasks the employee's health was at risk as a result of his exposure to the chromic acid.

The employee stated that when he was working for the defendant he noticed an increased sensitivity and tenderness on the inside of his nose with nasal crusting and occasional nose bleed. On his own initiative the employee attended on his general practitioner in April 2002 complaining of a whistling sound that emanated from his nose as he blew air out of his nose. He was diagnosed with a perforated nasal septum, a known potential side effect of industrial exposure to chromic acid. The employee required nasal septal reconstructive surgery but still currently has a small 2mm x 3mm nasal septum perforation. It is not known whether this will close spontaneously. The employee now suffers from an impaired sense of smell and reports an impaired sense of taste. The employee ceased his employment with the defendant on 25 June 2002.

During the time of the employee's employment, the defendant did not have any health surveillance program in place. Schedule 5.3 of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 specifies that the type of health surveillance required where there is a risk of exposure to inorganic chromium includes physical examination with emphasis on the respiratory system and skin.

The defendant had no prior convictions.

The defendant pleaded guilty.

Outcome Summary Convicted
Conviction Date 26 Nov 2004
Court Perth Court of Petty Sessions
Fine $1,500
Costs $618.45
Charge Number 44676/04