Teenage apprentice loses fingers in guillotine accident

An Adelaide aviation firm has been fined and ordered to pay compensation to a teenage employee who suffered partial amputations to the tips of his right middle and left index fingers whilst working.

The company Cobham Aviation Services Engineering pleaded guilty to breaching the section 19(1) of the Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986, in failing to ensure the safety of an employee at work.

The incident occurred in June 2008, at the defendant’s premises at Adelaide Airport, where it runs a maintenance workshop.

The court was told that the worker, aged 19 at the time, had been assigned the task of cutting stainless steel with a large guillotine.

During this task, he came into contact with the moving part of the machine, suffering partial amputations to the tips of his right middle and left index fingers, as well as a de-gloving injury as he pulled his fingers away, according to WorkSafe SA.

In decision delivered on Monday, he imposed a conviction and fined the company $24,000 after a discount of 20% to account for its early guilty plea, contrition and remedial action.

He also ordered compensation of $8,000 be paid under section 53 of the Sentencing Act.

SafeWork SA said the case again underscores the need to ensure young workers are adequately trained and protected around hazardous machinery.

“Young workers and manufacturing workplaces both rank high in their respective categories for workplace injuries,” said acting executive director, Juanita Lovatt.

“We know that young workers are especially vulnerable due to their keenness and inexperience, and employers need to factor this in as a priority in their safety management.” she said.

Image sourced: healthsafetysoftware.com

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