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Prosecution Details

Defendant Murphy Demolition Pty Ltd [1], Patrick Murphy [2] and Daniel Murphy [3]
Section 19(1), 19(7) [1] and 55 [2] and [3]
Offence Date Saturday, 29 November 2003
Description of Breach(es)

[1] Being an employer failed, so far as is practicable, to provide and maintain a working environment in which its employees were not exposed to hazards and by that contravention caused serious harm to an employee and thereby contravened section 19(1) and 19(7) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

[2] and [3] Where a body corporate is guilty of an offence under this Act and it is proved that the offence is attributable to the neglect on the part of a director, he as well as the corporation is guilty of that offence.

Background Details

The Defendant operated a demolition business and employed employees including the injured person.

On or about August 2003, the Defendants purchased an excavator with a quick hitch attachment. Various attachments could be secured to the quick hitch attachment and held in place by hydraulics. The quick hitch was supplied with a safety pin that was secured to it by a short chain so that it could not be fully removed from the quick hitch and it was held in place with a clevis pin. The safety pin was a safety device provided to ensure that the attachments could not fall off the quick hitch if the hydraulics failed.

On or about 27 November 2003, the Defendant Directors decided to permanently remove the safety pin from the quick hitch and did so.

On 29 November 2003, the employee was working for the Defendant as a labourer at 354 Wanneroo Road in Nollamara where the Defendant was demolishing a building with the use of the excavator without the safety pin in place. On that day, the quick hitch and bucket fell off the excavator and hit the employee on the upper back causing injuring including a severed spinal cord.

The employee was taken to Sir Charles Gairdiner Hospital then Royal Perth Hospital and subsequently to Shenton Park Rehabilitation Hospital.

The employee suffered serious harm being permanent paraplegia.

The Defendants were found guilty.

Outcome Summary Convicted
Conviction Date 27 Oct 2005
Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Perth
Fine $30,000 [1], $5,000 [2], $5,000 [3]
Costs $3,500
Charge Number 05660/05 [1] and 05661/05 & 05662/05 [2] and [3]