130K FINE: APPRENTICE SHOT IN HEAD WITH NAIL GUN

Topline Carpentry South East Pty Ltd (the Offender) employees were constructing townhouses in Glen Waverley when a 16 years’ old apprentice was involved in two incidents.

The first resulted in the apprentice suffering a deep laceration to his hand, which prevented him from using that hand throughout the day.

Though the incident resulted in loss of a bodily function, it was not reported to the WorkSafe and work continued.

The second incident involved the apprentice and a more experienced worker facing each other, at opposing ends of a door frame, whilst using nail guns.

Consequently, a 75mm steel nail struck the apprentice in the forehead, penetrating his cranium by approximately 40mm and his brain by approximately 20mm.

The apprentice was taken to the Royal Children’s Hospital, where the nail was surgically removed and was released one week later.

Again, the Authority was not notified of the incident, nor was the scene preserved and no written report was sent to WorkSafe.

Having been alerted by Victoria Police, WorkSafe Inspectors arrived and found work had continued for some time after the incident though only one nail gun – purportedly the apprentice’s – was left in the area.

The sole director of the company reportedly indicated to the father of the apprentice that all nail guns were removed because he feared WorkSafe would seize them.

Ultimately, the Offender was charged with failing to report the two incidents, failing to preserve the scene, failure to provide a safe environment and safe systems of work, obstructing an investigation and failing to provide a written report to the Authority.

The judge convicted the Offender who was ordered to repay costs ($5,715) and fined a total of $130,000.

Source: WorkSafe Prosecution Result Summaries

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