Work Health and Safety Prosecution – Student Injured During Manual Arts Lesson

Work Health and Safety Prosecution – Student Injured During Manual Arts Lesson

Published on:24th February,2017   Category: Workplace Health and Safety

When we think about workplace health and safety we often think about our obligations in the workplace.

A school has recently been prosecuted by Workplace Health and Safety after a student was injured during a manual arts lesson.

Manual arts lessons, especially when the students are young, have the potential to be a very risky learning environment.

Students have access to large and dangerous pieces of machinery and the potential for injury is much greater than during an English or maths lesson.

What Happened?

A year seven student suffered a laceration to his thumb while using a Woodcraft Band Saw to cut wood.  The band saw was fitted with an appropriate guard and the teacher had given instruction to the student on how to use the band saw.  The student had used the band saw without incident on up to 15 occasions before hurting his thumb.   The student was not being directly supervised when the accident happened.

Prosecution by Workplace Health and Safety

 For the purpose of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) a school is a person conducting a business or undertaking and accordingly, the school has workplace health and safety obligations to its students.

The school pleaded guilty to breaching its obligations and was fined $25,000 for breaching its health and safety obligations.  There was also an order made to pay over $1000 in court costs.

The court found that the school had breached its obligations by allowing students of such a young age to use the band saw without adequate supervision.

Steps have already been taken by the school to update its practices with regard to training and use of manual arts equipment.  Students are now unable to use the band saw in grade 7 and will be trained in safely using the equipment in grade 8.

Take Away Message

A large group of children using manual arts equipment has the potential to be a very dangerous situation.

An equally dangerous situation could arise in many other scenarios where people are interacting with dangerous equipment such as training institutions like TAFE or university, demonstrations or workshops.

It is important that organisations be aware of their workplace health and safety obligations as well as relevant codes of practice such as the Children and Young Workers Code of Practice 2006 (Qld).

If there has been an accident or injury at work, contact one of our workplace health and safety or injury experts today.

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