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Prosecution Details

Defendant SP Hay Pty Ltd
Section 21(1)(b) and 21(2)
Offence Date Wednesday, 12 March 2003
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employer, failed so far as practicable, to ensure that the safety of a person not being its employee was not adversely affected wholly or in part as a result of the work in which it or its employees was engaged; contrary to Sections 21(1)(b) and 21(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

The Defendant operated a workplace at Brookton where small bales of compressed hay are processed mainly for the overseas market. The machine that produces bales of hay was an FC9000 Series Forge Compactor (the Compactor).

The person who was injured was employed by a labour hire firm which supplied contract labour to the Defendant. He had been working at the Defendant's premises for about two months.

On 12 March 2003, the person was running the console of the Compactor when he noticed that the reel of strapping for one of the strapping machines was about to run out. While the Compactor was still running he changed the reel and fed the strap through the strap dispenser and over the support bar towards the strapping machine. In order to reach to thread the strap he stepped up onto the framework of the Compactor with a new strap in his hand.

He was about to pull the old strap out of the strapping machine and replace it with the new strap when another bale of hay was pushed onto the paddles for strapping. His left foot was between two bales that had already been strapped. His left leg became caught between the two strapped bales and he was dragged along past the guard and up to the metal detector. In response to his cries for help another worker pushed the emergency stop button and then used a crowbar to separate the two bales between which the injured person's leg was trapped.

The injured person suffered extensive damage to his leg including three main knee ligaments being ripped from the bone (which required screws to re-attach them), bruising from his hip to ankle, and severe crushing of his lower calf causing blood clots.

Following the accident the Defendant placed guards on both sides of the Compactor between the paddles and the metal detector, which included the area where the injured person placed his foot. Further, following the accident, the Defendant directed its workers that the Compactor was to be stopped when changing straps.

The Defendant pleaded guilty.

Outcome Summary Convicted
Conviction Date 28 Apr 2005
Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Armadale
Fine $15,000
Costs $250
Charge Number AR1312/05