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Prosecution Details

Defendant Eric Altinier
Section 48(4)
Offence Date Wednesday, 26 November 2003
Description of Breach(es)

Being the person to whom improvement notice 76700200 was issued, did not comply with the improvement notice by 30 September 2003, that date being the date by which the improvement notice must be complied with; contrary to section 48(4) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

The Accused operates an orchard business in Bickley.

On 19 March 2002 a WorkSafe Inspector issued an improvement notice to the Accused. That improvement notice stated that the Inspector had formed the opinion that the defendant was contravening section 19(1)(a) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 and the grounds for the opinion were that tractors were being used at the workplace without roll over protection and seat belts and there was a risk of the tractors overturning. The inspector directed the defendant to fit roll over protective structures and seat belts to every tractor operated at the workplace. The date for compliance with the notice was 19 June 2002.

On 20 March 2002 the Accused applied to the WorkSafe Western Australia Commisisoner for review of the improvement notice pursuant to section 51 of the Act. On 2 October 2002, after the Commissioner had visited the Accused's orchard, the Commissioner affirmed the notice but modified the date for compliance to 31 March 2003.

On 10 October 2002 the Accused applied to a Safety and Health Magistrate in the Local Court at Midland for further review of the notice pursuant to section 51A of the Act. On 21 January 2003 the Safety and Health Magistrate, having heard evidence on behalf of the defendant as to why in the Accused's view the notice should be cancelled, affirmed the decision of the Commissioner in relation to the notice but extended the compliance date to 30 September 2003.

WorkSafe inspectors attended the workplace on 26 November 2003 and found that the improvement notice had not been complied with. While one of the tractors in use at the workplace had been fitted with a roll over protective structure, two other tractors in use in the workplace had not been fitted with any roll over protective structure. None of the tractors had been fitted with seat belts.

It was practicable for the Accused to have complied with the notice within the time specified. The Health and Safety Magistrate found that the Accused could fit a roll over protective structure such as the single post ROPS designed specifically for orchard use or a fold-down ROPS. One of the tractors in use at the workplace was fitted with a seat that had seat belt mounting points. The other two tractors were fitted with tilting seats that did not have seat belt mounting points on the seats, however, tractor seats with seat belt attachment points incorporated into the seat itself are available on the marketplace. The Safety and Health Magistrate, in his decision affirming the notice, accepted that the fitting of ROPS and seatbelts in this case was feasible.

The Accused pleaded guilty.

Outcome Summary Convicted
Conviction Date 19 Aug 2005
Court Magistrates Court of WA - Midland
Fine $2,500
Costs $618.45
Charge Number 2867/05