$15,000 Fine for Failure to Ensure Safe Workplace

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Queensland company, Seamarc Constructions, was recently fined $15,000 and billed $2082 for court costs after a first-year apprentice cut his hand on a circular saw. The apprentice received several stitches and was released from hospital the same day.

Business owner, Marc McDonald, said he took safety very seriously among his apprentices and held regular training sessions with them. Work Place Health and Safety regional manager Bob Fitzsimmons said Mr McDonald was responsible for all training and supervision of apprentices, but had failed to organize the workplace in a manner that was safe and failed to undertake a formal risk assessment of the workplace. Although the presiding magistrate Tom Killeen accepted that Mr McDonald had provided verbal training there was no documentation to back it up. Mr Killeen said that "as an employer you have to have a set training program that is documented. There were no training instructions on how to operate the equipment."

Mr McDonald said he was unaware of the regulations requiring him to have written instructions on training his employees.