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Details of successful prosecution against E178667

Incident description

The defendant company manufactured construction and mining products. A first year apprentice boiler maker was using steel roller plant, which took pieces of steel and rolled them into a required shape. The apprentice lifted a guard and had his hand on the steel guiding it through the rollers. His hand was pinched between the steel and the top roller and he sustained crush injuries to his hand.

The defendant company held duties under s. 19 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 being a person conducting a business or undertaking.

Court result

The defendant pleaded guilty in the Townsville Magistrates Court on 15 July 2014 to breaching s.19 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, having failed to meet its work health and safety duties and was sentenced.

Magistrate Mr Peter Smid fined the defendant $40 000 and ordered professional costs of $1000 with filing fees of $83. He also made a section 239 order releasing the defendant and adjourning the proceeding for a period of one year, with the general manager of the defendant giving an undertaking that the defendant will not commit an offence against the Act for the period with a recognisance in the amount of $30 000. No conviction was recorded.

In reaching a decision the magistrate took into account the plant had been rectified at a cost of $45 000 and that the defendant had taken over 200 apprentices through to be tradespeople. The magistrate considered that while the roller was in good condition, the instructions were illegible, the injured worker lacked supervision and training, there was inadequate guarding and there was a lack of instruction material.

In deciding penalty, Magistrate Smid took into account the defendant had not been prosecuted previously for any workplace health and safety breach, cooperated with the investigation and entered an early plea of guilty. He considered he had to punish the defendant and signal to other companies that breaches against the Act were going to be dealt with by a substantial penalty.

Considerations for prevention

(Commentary under this heading may be additional to material before the court.)

The person with management or control (PWMC) of plant at a workplace needs to ensure the risk of injury from plant with moving parts is eliminated or minimised as far as is reasonably practicable.

To achieve this the following risk management principles should be implemented:

  • Identify all hazards associated with the operation of the plant and choose appropriate control measures.
  • Ensure operators of the plant are appropriately trained and supervised.
  • Develop and implement appropriate work procedures taking into account the information provided for the plant by the manufacturer.
  • Review risk assessments to ensure any control measures remain effective.

If guarding is used to control the risk of injury from plant with moving parts the PWMC needs to ensure:

  • any guarding is permanently fixed if access is not necessary for operation or maintenance
  • an interlocked moveable guard is used if access is required during operation and/or maintenance; or
  • if the above is not reasonably practicable, that the guarding system includes a presence-sensing safeguarding system that eliminates the risk when a person, or a part of a person, is in the area being guarded.

Guarding on plant must also be securely mounted, be of solid construction and make by-passing or disabling as difficult as possible. The guarding chosen should not create any additional risks and must be maintained to ensure it remains effective.


Date of offence:
Crush injuries to the right hand
Townsville Magistrates Court
Mr Peter Smid
s. 19 (1) Work Health and Safety Act 2011
Decision date:
$40 000. Adjourned for one year with a $30 000 recognisance under section 239.
Maximum Penalty:
$1 500 000
Conviction recorded:
CIS event number:
Last updated
02 July 2018

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