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Prosecution Details

Defendant Cook's Construction Proprietary Limited
Section 19(1) and 19(7)
Offence Date Sunday, 22 August 2004
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employer, did not so far as was practicable, provide and maintain a working environment in which its employees were not exposed to hazards and by that failure contravened section 19(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984, and caused the death of its employee; contrary to section 19(7) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

At all relevant times the following facts existed.


The Accused operated a business that included manufacturing, repairing, maintaining and modifying earth moving machinery.

The Accused employed approximately 230 people. About 20 of those people worked at the accused's workplace at 72 Kewdale Road in Kewdale. The workplace included an office, fabrication work shop, mechanical workshop and dispatch area.


Prior to 22 August 2004 the accused took delivery of a bucket that was to be modified by adding a steel section into it to increase its width, changing the angle of the corners from straight to scooped, and welding a base edge assembly to it. The base edge would be 10mm thicker than usual for that type of bucket and therefore heavier than usual for that type of bucket. A base edge assembly is the piece of steel that is attached to the bucket and has the adaptors (teeth) attached to it.

The decision as to how the modifications to the bucket would be carried out was made by a boiler maker employed by the accused (Boiler Maker 'A').


On Sunday 22 August 2005 Boiler Maker 'A', Boiler Maker 'B' and a Trades Assistant/Storeman were working in the workshop. The bucket had already been cut down the middle and a piece of steel inserted and welded into it.

When lying upside down the rear of the bucket was about 2.515m wide, and when measured from the rear of the hinge plates to the tips of the adaptors it was about 2.7m high.

Boiler Maker 'A' and Boiler Maker 'B' supported the bucket with a crane and moved it from face down to standing up.

They have then welded two pipes to the back of the bucket to support it and stop it tipping over backwards. They then unhooked the crane from the bucket.

Boiler Maker 'A' and Boiler Maker 'B' then used a crane to lift the new base edge assembly up onto the front the bucket. The base edge assembly added about 1700kg in weight to the front of the bucket.

Although Boiler Maker 'A' had previously supported buckets at the front by welding legs onto them he did not do so in this case, because based on his visual assessment of the bucket and practical experience, he did not think that it was necessary.

After unhooking the base edge assembly from the crane he began to weld the new base edge assembly to the front of the bucket.

He started the welding whilst standing next to the bucket. He then moved to standing on top of the bucket. After he had been welding whilst standing on the top of the bucket for about an hour he needed to move the welding lead.

He called out to the Trades Assistant/Storeman who had been working with Boiler Maker 'B' at a work bench, and asked him to pick the welding hand piece up from the back of the bucket and hand it up to him from the front of the bucket. This meant that the Trades Assistant/Storeman had to walk toward the mouth of the bucket and pass the welding hand piece up to Boiler Maker 'A'. At the same time Boiler Maker 'A' walked forward on top of the bucket towards Trades Assistant/Storeman so he could reach down and take the welding hand piece from him.

The bucket then tipped forward and crushed the Trades Assistant/Storeman between one of the adaptors or teeth and the workshop floor. He was killed.

The accused co-operated with WorkSafe throughout WorkSafe's investigation.

Outcome Summary Plead Guilty
Conviction Date 11 May 2007
Court Perth Magistrates Court
Fine $75,000
Costs $892.70
Charge Number PE17430/07