|Defendant||Bluescope Steel Limited|
|Trading Name||Bluescope Lysaght|
|Section||21(1)(b) and (3)|
|Offence Date||Wednesday, 1 December 2004|
|Description of Breach(es)||
Being an employer failed to ensure, so far as was practicable, that the safety or health 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 any of its employees was engaged and by that failure caused serious harm to a person; contrary to sections 21(1)(b) and (3) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.
The accused was engaged in the work of manufacturing steel components for both commercial and domestic use.
The components were manufactured by machinery operated by employees of the accused and in some instances employees of Skilled Group Limited. Skilled Group Limited provided the accused with workers under a labour hire agreement.
About 93 workers worked in the accused's factory at Forrestfield at the time of the incident.
On 1 December 2004 the workers carrying out work for the accused at its factory included worker A who was employed by the accused and worker B who was employed by Skilled Group Limited and who had worked for the accused for about 3 months.
Part of the accused's work was carried out using a 25 tonne John Heine 203 AG series 2 mechanical type power press known at the workplace of the accused as "No 3 Fly Press". The press was used to bend pieces of steel with a maximum thickness of 1mm. However, the opening between the upper die when it was uppermost and the lower die of the Press was large enough to insert into it a hand or finger(s). It was 200mm.
The accused had owned and operated the press for approximately 11.5 years.
The press was powered by an electric motor that powered a mechanical flywheel via a belt drive.
The press was located in the area of the accused's factory known as the press section. This area of the factory housed a number of other power presses and pieces of machinery.
The press operated as follows:
On 1 December 2004 worker B was using the Press to press pieces of steel into square gutter brackets.
He placed the steel onto the lower die so that it was under the upper die. With his right hand he then pulled the guard down as far as possible and held it in place. He then used his left hand to push the start button. The upper die moved down onto the metal, pressed it into the required shape and moved back up to its up position. When this process was finished, he let go of the guard so that it sprang back up away from the pressed metal. With his right hand he then reached into the path of the upper die to remove the bent piece of metal. While his hand was in this position the upper die of the Press moved back down towards his hand and pressed down onto it.
The die crushed four of the fingers on his right hand. Those fingers were later amputated. His right and middle fingers were amputated below the 1st knuckle and his second finger and small finger were amputated above the first knuckle.
On 17 December 2004 an Inspector of WorkSafe issued improvement notice number 135322 to the accused.
On 27 January 2005 the accused notified WorkSafe that it had complied with the improvement notice.
The accused complied with the improvement notice by modifying the Press so that the upper die would not move down unless an automated guard had already moved down to within 18 mm of the press block, and if the guard was opened, the upper die would automatically stop moving. This was achieved by:
The modifications to the Press were undertaken by the accused's employees.
|Outcome Summary||Pleaded Guilty|
|Conviction Date||26 Jul 2007|
|Court||Midland Magistrates Court|