A clear message has been sent by the courts when a labourer was convicted and fined at the Wodonga Magistrates' Court after an incident where an apprentice was shot with a nail gun, resulting in a fractured arm.A 38mm long nail was fired into a third-year apprentice’s arm. The resulting injury included a penetrated bone which required surgery.
WorkSafe reports that Trevor Domaille, of Wodonga, pleaded guilty to one charge under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 for failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of others at the workplace. The fine amounted to $3000 in monthly instalments of $200.
WorkSafe notes that in sentencing, Magistrate Ian Von Einem described Domaille’sbehaviour as “silly”.
“In fact it's almost beyond belief. It's lucky the young man wasn't more seriously injured. The thought of a nail gun being fired into one's arm sends shivers down one’s spine,” he said.
WorkSafe’s General Manager for Operations, Lisa Sturzenegger, said improper use of nail guns was unacceptable in the workplace.
“Nail guns are high-risk/ high-consequence equipment which have resulted in 1190 claims reported to WorkSafe over the past 10 financial years, that’s about two each week.
“They are powerful and can help get work done more quickly, but the consequences if they are not used correctly can be extremely serious.”
MsSturzenegger said a zero-tolerance approach should be taken to workplace pranks which can lead to serious injury and potentially death.
“Everyone has a responsibility to ensure their workplace is as safe as practicable and employers need to set an example that inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated.
“Employers and supervisors have clear responsibilities to ensure equipment is well-maintained and that the people using them are trained and have a very clear idea of what can happen through misuse.
“Workers have very clear responsibilities to work in a safe way, not put others at risk while co-workers, particularly more experienced people, need to speak-up if inappropriate behaviour is going on,” she said.
For more information, head to the WorkSafe VIC website at: http://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/wsinternet/worksafe/sitetools/news/worker+fined+over+nail+gun+incident
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