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Prosecution Details

Defendant Douai Pty Ltd
Trading Name Hills Trading
Section 19(1) and 19(7)
Offence Date Friday, 12 March 2004
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 contravention 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 Accused carries on a business out of premises at Bellevue that, among other things manufactures fishing gear. The Accused employs a number of people.

The Accused has at its workplace in Bellevue a 40-ton stamping press that is used by its employees in the course of their work. The stamping press is not, and never has been guarded so as to prevent access between the punch and the die. Once the motor has been turned on (via a switch on the side of the press) and the flywheel is in motion, the stamping movement is activated by the application of pressure on a foot pedal. There was, and never has been, any guard on the foot pedal to prevent inadvertent activation of the stamping movement.

On 12 March 2004 an employee was using the stamping press in order to punch metal to create fish scalers. After about 20 minutes the employee reached in between the punch and the die to retrieve a piece of metal. The motor of the stamping press was still running at the time. While the employee had his right hand between the punch and the die, the stamping motion was inadvertently activated and the punch descended onto the die, amputating the four fingers and the top of the thumb of the employee's right hand. An attempt to surgically reattach the fingers and thumb proved unsuccessful.

The employee was at the time only 19 years of age and had commenced working for the Accused approximately 1 year earlier.

It was practicable for the accused to have taken the measures particularised in the prosecution notice. In fact after the injury to the employee occurred the Accused installed mesh guards to the front and sides of the trapping space (between the punch and the die) of the stamping press with interlocking switches that prevent operation of the stamping press when the guards are not in place. If the guards had been in place on 12 March 2004 the injury to the employee could not have occurred.

The Accused pleaded guilty.

Outcome Summary Convicted
Conviction Date 11 Aug 2005
Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Midland
Fine $10,000
Costs $398.45
Charge Number 5471/05