A kitchen manufacturer has been slapped with a $60,000 fine after its employee had three fingers severed on the job, with WorkSafe Victoria warning that employees must be given safety procedures for the use of workplace equipment.
Oliver Projects was found guilty in the Dandenong Magistrates’ Court late last week of failing to provide or maintain safe systems of work and failing to provide adequate information and instruction to its employees.
Aside from a $60,000 fine, the company was ordered to pay costs of $4,248, after its employee suffered a serious work-related accident.
According to WorkSafe Victoria, in April 2018, the cabinet-maker was using a panel saw to cut sections of melamine for the installation of a range hood.
After cutting a panel, the worker was standing beside the saw when he attempted to push an off-cut into a waste bin while the blade was still spinning. The man’s hand came into contact with the blade and three of his fingers were amputated from just above the first knuckle.
He spent nine days recovering in hospital after surgery to reattach his fingers.
The court heard Oliver Projects had previously engaged an OHS adviser to develop a safe operating procedure for the panel saw but had failed to implement it or use it to train staff.
While brief instructions were set out in an exercise book attached to the saw, the court found that they were inadequate as they didn’t require workers to turn off the saw and wait for the blade to stop before removing off-cuts.
WorkSafe executive director of health and safety Julie Nielsen said the life-changing injury could have easily been avoided if the company had provided workers with proper training.
“It’s incredibly frustrating to know this company had been provided with an appropriate safety procedure for the saw but inexplicably failed to pass this information on to its workers,” Ms Nielsen said.
“WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute employers who fail to ensure the safety of their workers is always their first priority.”