The first question that I had burning inside of me as Daniel’s Mother was, how was it that this company saw fit to use its least skilled, least experienced employees on a machine that was capable of doing so much damage?
MARK REMFREY answered that one for me in his statement to Workplace Services (SafeWork SA) – C24A
Page 2 – Paragraph 4 – Last Line – ‘...because it is such a good teacher.’
We heard evidence from MARK REMFREY here where he referred to the Horizontal Borer “a good learning tool”.
P101 – L 29 “ It required you to look at drawings and then interpret them from being a 2 dimensional drawing to a 3D block of steel and it means you need to be able to read the drawing and figure out what it is that has to happen.”
P102 L1 – “So it meant that you were constantly having to learn about what information you needed to be able to gather from the drawings and the way things fitted together. In a lot of other area, it’s quite a small portion of the process that you see and what you do doesn’t necessarily affect dramatically the overall or a number of other operations along the way. Whereas a lot of the operations that were done on the borer required you to be taking in and learning about what other operations were going to happen”
I couldn’t quite understand how that level of accountability needed to be assigned to a 1st year apprentice – nor did it make sense to me why it was this 40 year old borer was regarded as a learning tool or a teacher. I would have that task was best taken care of by a tradesman, at least a human being.
Then I read the Workplace Services (SafeWork SA statement taken from the late NEVILLE GROSE - the founder of Diemould Tooling. He was interviewed In November 2004 as a part of the investigation. Then and only then did I understand how it was that this 40 year old machine could teach....
P18 L18 – “Yes, it’s the best training we had for the apprentices because they couldn’t make a mistake...”
They couldn’t make a mistake? It was a good teacher for an unskilled apprentice because it was critical that there are no mistakes?
P17 L4- “Okay well, it would go through the cavity which could quite easily cause $20,000 to $30,000 worth of damage. I mean the boys on that machine have more supervision than any other area of the plant because it’s so critical and the repercussions of putting a hole in the wrong place are not even worth mentioning.”
Please do read about how the idea of SUPERVISION is interpreted by the management and employees of this company. Then and only then will it become evident what really was very, very limited supervision. So with that limited supervision, if these young apprentices made a mistake and drilled a hole in the wrong place, the repercussions are not even worth mentioning?? What the hell were these people thinking?
This 40 year old Russian borer was indeed a teacher, it taught by method of detriment – or by the fear of God . Mistakes were just not an option. These die block that the young apprentices were working on were not dummies or practise jigs – they were the real McCoy, with a price tag that could run anywhere from $100,000 to $250,000. Statement Neville Grose P18 L12
In that vain, not only can one not make a mistake because mistakes were extremely costly, those mistake could affect other departments and their operation schedules as well - and this was the burden of their least experienced and least skilled employees.