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Prosecution Details

Defendant Atlas Group Pty Ltd
Section 19(1) and 19(6)
Offence Date Wednesday, 21 May 2003
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employer, failed, so far as was practicable, to provide and maintain a working environment in which its employees were not exposed to hazards; contrary to Sections 19(1) and 19(6) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

The defendant operates an industrial complex at Mirrabooka, which includes a brick manufacturing plant, sand pit, landfill site and a secondary waste sorting facility. The secondary waste facility consists of a series of conveyors and other plant that is used to sort and recover recyclable materials from municipal domestic waste. The secondary waste sorting facility operates for 18 hours per day and the defendant employs persons who work in two shifts for five to six days per week.

Located within the secondary waste sorting facility there is a conveyor known as CV6. This conveyor, similarly to a number of other conveyors in the facility, did not, on 21 May 2003, have any guarding over the tail roller of the conveyor. The design of CV6 was copied from that of another conveyor CV4, a design that included a tail roller guard on the design drawings.

There was a single tubular rail that went around the perimeter of the area within which CV6 and other conveyors were located. This rail was labelled periodically with signs on which was written 'Danger Do Not Enter'

Employees of the defendant were expected to work inside the perimeter rail on a regular basis in order to perform tasks relating to ensuring the conveyor belts worked properly, such as tracking the conveyor belts and removing any debris caught on the conveyor belts. There were no written procedures requiring employees to isolate or lock out the conveyors if they intended to enter into the area inside the perimeter rail. Nor were there any written procedures indicating how the tasks that were required to be performed inside the perimeter rail while the conveyors were running were to be performed safely.

On 21 May 2003 an employee of the defendant, was working as the leading hand of the shift and as such it was part of his duties to perform tasks that required him to enter within the perimeter rail. He was working in the vicinity of CV6 inside the perimeter rail when he was drawn into the conveyor. His arm and head were pulled into the conveyor and were only released when another employee pulled the emergency stop of conveyor CV6. The employee was sent by ambulance to Royal Perth Hospital where he was in a critical condition, spending a significant period of time in intensive care and undergoing a number of operations.

After the 21 May 2003 the defendant installed a guard over the tail roller of conveyor CV6 that prevented access by any body part to the tail roller of conveyor CV6.

The defendant pleaded guilty.

On 28 May 1996 Atlas Group Pty Ltd was convicted of an offence pursuant to sections 19(1)(a), 19(1)(b) and 19(6) for failing to provide and maintain, so far as practicable, a safe working environment (charge PE 50720/95). The Court ordered the defendant to pay a fine of $12,500 and costs of $8,500.

Outcome Summary Convicted
Conviction Date 23 Nov 2004
Court Perth Court of Petty Sessions
Fine $18,000
Costs $1,288.45
Charge Number 40415/04