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Details of successful prosecution against E180158

Incident description

The defendant operated a sawmilling and timber business that included the processing and supply of hardwood timber products.  

On 25 March 2013 a worker was operating a piece of plant when their foot was caught in the moving parts, resulting in multiple fractures to the left foot. The parts were exposed after a panel had been removed so that the lug sensor could be adjusted (there was no other way to access the sensor). Since the incident, the plant has been modified so the guarding is left intact and additional supervision has ensured proper hierarchy of control.

Court result

The defendant pleaded guilty in the Kingaroy Magistrates Court on 28 August 2014 to breaching s.32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, having failed to meet its work health and safety duties and was sentenced.

Magistrate Hillan fined the defendant $35 000 and ordered professional and court costs totalling $1079.40. No conviction was recorded.

In reaching a decision, the magistrate accepted there was guarding but the guarding had been removed by staff to make adjustments and the guard was left near the plant thereby creating an obvious hazard. It was accepted the issue was immediately addressed in that guarding was replaced and modifications made to prevent future exposure.

In deciding penalty, Magistrate Hillan took into account the defendant had not been prosecuted previously for any work health and safety breach, cooperated with the investigation and entered an early plea of guilty.

Considerations for prevention

(commentary under this heading is not part of the court's decision)

Log saw milling and the timber processing industry can be hazardous because of the type of plant and equipment used to process logs into sawn timber. Hazards such as cutting, crushing, shearing, entanglement, entrapment, impact and puncturing can be controlled by making sure that guards are correctly designed, fitted and maintained.

Workers have a duty to report any unguarded plant or equipment to their supervisors, and management must ensure guards are designed, fitted, maintained and safe. As well as having effective guarding in place, safe work processes need to be developed, and appropriate training provided for staff to perform their job safely.


Agriculture, forestry and fishing
Date of offence:
Foot Fracture
Kingaroy Magistrates Court
Mr Graham Hillan
s.32 of the duty under s.19 Work Health and Safety Act 2011
Decision date:
$35 000
Maximum Penalty:
$1 500 000
Conviction recorded:
CIS event number:
Last updated
02 July 2018

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