Above & Beyond Plastering Pty Ltd, a construction company specializing in plastering and carpentry work, often works as a subcontractor for larger building companies. In this incident, the company was contracted to perform plastering and carpentry work at a building site in St Kilda.
On February 23, 2021, a 24-year-old employee was assigned the task of cutting plywood sheets using a hand-held powered circular saw. It was the employee's first time performing this task. Unfortunately, the employee did not have access to a cutting table. Instead, they placed the plywood sheets on top of a stack of plasterboards, which were not secured properly. This lack of stability created a significant risk of injury.
During the cutting process, the sawblade accidentally made contact with the employee's hand while cutting the third sheet. As a result, the employee's left index finger was severed, and their left middle and ring fingers sustained serious lacerations.
The following day, WorkSafe Inspectors visited the workplace and discovered that the safe work method statement (SWMS) specified that cutting should be done on a stable table or stand. They also found that the employee had not signed the necessary SWMS, indicating a failure to adhere to proper safety procedures.
Above & Beyond Plastering Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to the charges. They were fined $25,000 without receiving a conviction, and they were also required to pay costs of $5,491.