THE SUPERVISION OF APPRENTICES

CAN SOMEONE PLEASE FIND A DICTIONARY!

First of all – a good place to start was to get some clarification from the employees what their interpretation of supervision was – or perhaps to draw a distinction between supervision and instruction.

SANDEEP CHALIL was Daniel’s supervisor on that day.  

P194 L15 – Instruction is probably to guide someone to do something in particular, supervising could be giving – talking guidance, probably in the whole manner.”

PAUL BARBER being the apprentice master:

P678 L35 – “My interpretation of supervision is to give a person an instruction to ensure that person does the task to the best of their ability”

MARK REMFREY – When asked how he defined ‘direct supervision’ he replied, “operating under direct instruction” P133 - L16

Come on – the word is self explanatory.  Vision is in there .. so one could safely assume that there would need to be the eyes used.  Not one person saw the need to watch or use vision...

SUPERVISION: to oversee activity: to watch over an activity or task being carried out by somebody and ensure that it is performed correctly.

We’re not off to a good start but it gets more disturbing as we move along.

The Diemould factory was split into 2 sections.  The Eastern workshop is where the apprentices worked and the Western workshop is where the bulk of the tradesmen worked.  That’s likely not a huge problem on the normal day shift because we know PAUL BARBER worked a normal day shift from Monday to Friday.

The issue here was overtime.  Apprentices did a lot of overtime.  Of course – it’s very affordable labour and aside from that, I know Daniel regarded that as the only means to make a decent living in his 1st year. He was always happy to take what extra hours he could.

I was made aware of just how little supervision was afforded to these apprentices on the overtime shifts and I do realise that it has been something I have focused very heavily on.  I believe that is with good reason.  It comes down to the exploitation of cheap labour.  These apprentices are paid very low wages for a reason.  That income is supposed to reflect someone that is in need of a great deal of supervision.  That means a tradesman’s wage needs to be allocated to that young person.

There has been evidence presented here that does suggest supervision was seriously lacking at Diemould Tooling.

ARMANDO BAKER was an apprentice that had operated the Horizontal Borer for a period of time during his 2nd year under Thomas Valk. When asked by Ms Cacas whether MR VALK would be likely to supervise him on the Horizontal Borer at times he answered ‘yes’ – directly afterward Ms Cacas asked whether  that would be a lot of time or not very much:

P453 L18 – “Not a lot of the time.”

In relation to afternoon shifts and the Eastern workshop, MR BAKER was asked whether there were times over these shifts where there may not have been anyone of a supervisory nature in that workshop:

P469 L29 – “Yes, on afternoon shift yes”

DANIEL GOLDFINCH if we recall was a 1st year apprentice that left Diemould soon after Daniel’s death.  In his statement C26 - the following was documented by WPS:

C26 – Line 54 “There wasn’t a lot of supervision on overtime.  I only worked one Saturday but I turned up at 6.00am and there was only Daniel Madeley in the Eastern Workshop and one other person in the Western workshop.  Daniel was already working when I got there and he’d been there for about an hour working alone.”

When asked whether he was aware of any of the 1st and 2nd year apprentices working afternoon or night shift unsupervised, he replied,

P213 L8 “Yes”

On the matter of supervision during normal working hours with the apprentice master, PAUL BARBER present, this was documented in his statement also:

C26 – Line 65 – “In the graphite room we worked alone as well with Paul in the block up area and the door closed to prevent graphite getting everywhere.”

In FRED HULL’s testimony, in explaining the level of supervision PAUL BARBER was likely to offer from his desk, His Honour asked about the separated ‘cells’ in the Eastern workshop and the walls that divided these areas from one another.

P843 L19 – “If he was in with the 1st year apprentices in that block up area he would have very little view of him (Daniel), if at all.”

PETER DAVIDSON was just in his 2nd year when Daniel was killed.  In answer to His Honour’s question concerning working in the factory on machines with only the cleaner present during night shift:

P782 L33 – “The best recollection is there would – I reckon there were a couple of points in time where I would have been on a night shift operating this particular machine...not this one in question but a different machine , with the cleaner in the building – yes.”

His Honour asked whether Mr Davidson would be there on his own until the morning shift arrived at 7.00am – his answer was, “Yes” and when asked whether he recalled this, he replied:

P783 L24 –“Yes I do”.  

Some confusion here as to whether Peter Davidson was operating the Horizontal Borer on this night based on this line of questions from His Honour – these appeared to relate specifically to night shift and working alone.  P784 L6

Q: But you weren’t working that night on the borer?

A: No, not on the borer, no.

Q: But you had started on the borer for your ...

A: I had started on the borer –

Q: -  main duties

A: - but I left the borer to do a different job.

CHRISTINE STOCK was an apprentice who also left Diemould soon after June 2004.  Her evidence gave credence to the other witness statements – well at least those who were not at the MEETING nor still linked with the company.  

P384 L6 – “When I moved into the office upstairs, there was a number of occasions where there was a lack of supervision and on one occasion that I recall where I was actually in the factory on my own.”

She was working in the office on a computer at this stage so the concerns for her were not so much about OHS but the burden of being left alone doing complicated drawings without the guidance of someone to assist her was a concern to her. P384 L30

MISS STOCK talked about at one of the staff BBQ’s after June 5th, Neville Grose organised a ‘Buddy System’ so that no one would ever be in the factory on their own.  P385 L28 and incidentally, why would he do this if the company didn’t have some concern about this after June 2004 – after they were made aware of the line of questioning by WPS investigation?

CHRISTINE STOCK recounted:

P388 L1 – “...there was actually two of us in the office that day working, when they went to leave, the people who I’d notified had actually left, they were no longer in the factory and the only other people I could find were 2 other apprentices...”

P388 L7 – “...So the only other person in the factory other than the 2 apprentices (One being identified as Josh Arnold P388 L36) was the person in the office with me.  So I told him I was leaving, and I just wanted to ask the other guys when they were leaving and they said they were working all day – but I believe the person I was working in the office with was leaving earlier them, so I believe that was the stage when he left earlier than they did.”

Ms Cacas was seeking clarification as to whether this that instance had occurred after or before Daniel’s death:

P388 L25 – “I believe it was after”

MISS STOCK advised at this point she had made contact with the EEAGTS about her experience. P388 L18

FRED HULL when asked whether he recalls the ‘buddy system’ said it did not ring a bell.  He then did concedes– “I can recall something being mentioned to ‘operations’ that the scheduling , that that was something that was checked off or, you know, viewed at, yes.”  P906 L8

MARK REMFREY – Now he was very savvy when it came to giving evidence in this court as your Honour may recall.  He was also asked whether he was aware of apprentices working afternoon / night shifts without any supervision:

P134 L36 – “I can’t categorically say that it didn’t happen”

Exactly the kind of response I would have expected from MR REMFREY – careful as always not to commit.

Then we have the issue of assigning supervisors that are not familiar with the Horizontal Borer operations.  

SANDEEP CHALIL purposely changed his statement to Workplace Services (SafeWork SA) on the question of supervision – he now suddenly remembers that he was after all, assigned to be supervising Daniel on the morning of the June 5th :

As Daniel’s direct supervisor he was asked whether he thought it was possible that Daniel may have accidentally hit the ON button where he might have meant to hit the HOLD TO RUN button:

P203 L2 – “I don’t know the operation buttons for that machine.”

He doesn’t know the operation buttons on that machine?  How on earth is he going to be able to assist him if he gets into trouble with the machine?  

DAVID McMINN brought in a bundle of pay slip reports that were for the specific purpose of trying to show

Mr Crocker offered us a bundle of documents C41A that DAVID McMINN has provided to supposedly prove that  that apprentices did not work without supervision at Diemould Tooling during afternoon and night shifts.

The first document shows a list of tradesmen working versus apprentice and the times.

There have been mistakes in this document and it is my opinion that they are misleading.  The inaccuracies show that he has included workers that have are not tradesmen and therefore are not going to be of much assistance to a young apprentice.  The 2nd error was the inclusion of a 1st year apprentice as being listed as a tradesman.  I don’t know all the names on that sheet but if a document like this is to be tendered as evidence, I would have hoped it would be accurate.

As for the time sheet reports – again I question their accuracy.  May 9th 2004 was mother’s day – I remember that mother’s day.  I don’t know how Daniel could have been in two places at once.  I also note that in the brief along with SUE FRAZER’s statement.  Exhibit C6E is a computer generated report that shows Daniel was on sick leave on the 25th May 2004.  The report that DAVID McMINN brought along suggests Daniel clocked on at 7.10 am and finished work at 4.13pm.  Which is it?  Which report is correct?

FRED HULL appeared to be unaware that these apprentices were working weekend overtime.  In his statement to Rosie Batt:

C38C Page 5 (bottom paragraph) : “Daniel worked day shift as he did not have the same level of experience as the apprentice who worked the afternoon shift, Peter Davidson”

If that was true, then how it is that the time sheet shows that Daniel was working night shifts on the weekend?  He’s arguing with his own clock cards??

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