By Nicholas Hartman
A construction company in regional Queensland has been fined $75,000 after they were found to have failed to instruct a worker in how to safely use a circular saw, resulting in “him suffering serious physical and psychological injuries” according to Safety Solutions.
The Toowoomba Magistrates Court heard that a 19-year-old worker suffered permanent hand injuries, requiring 10 surgical procedures, as well as treatment for ongoing psychological issues.
WHS Queensland said the worker had been attempting to cut framing timber when the saw moved, grabbed and jumped on the piece of timber, cutting across his hand.
The timber had not been secured or clamped down and there were no other workers or supervisors on site at the time.
An investigation found that the worker had not received specific instructions or training from the builder in how to operate a circular saw. The worker was also not instructed or trained on how to secure the timber with clamps or other means or told about other safety measures and tools like saw horses or frames.
WHS Queensland also concluded that the construction company failed to advise the worker that he could purchase pre-cut timber from the point of sale.
The court agreed that the worker had not been adequate instruction or supervision in the safe operation of the saw. The court found the circumstances of the breach a “serious dereliction of the defendant’s duty to ensure workplace health and safety”, according to Safety Solutions.
The magistrate added that the young worker’s injuries were significant and lifelong, such that they would “adversely and severely impact on his enjoyment of the amenities of life and his earning capacity.”
In sentencing, the magistrate took into account the construction company’s good record, favourable work history and cooperation with the investigation.