Company fined $60,000 for amputated fingers

A kitchen manufacturer has been convicted and fined $60,000 after a cabinet maker had three fingers severed while cutting panels.


Oliver Projects Pty Ltd was found guilty in the Dandenong Magistrates' Court on Thursday of failing to provide or maintain safe systems of work and failing to provide information and instruction.

The company was also ordered to pay costs of $4,248.

In April 2018, the cabinet maker was using a panel saw to cut sections of melamine for the installation of a range hood.

After cutting a panel, the worker was standing beside the saw when he attempted to push an off-cut into a waste bin while the blade was still spinning.

The man's hand came into contact with the blade and three of his fingers were amputated from just above the first knuckle.

He spent nine days recovering in hospital after surgery to reattach his fingers.

The court heard Oliver Projects had previously engaged an OHS advisor to develop a safe operating procedure for the panel saw but had failed to implement it or use it to train staff.

Brief instructions were set out in an exercise book attached to the saw, but they were inadequate as they didn't require workers to turn off the saw and wait for the blade to stop before removing off-cuts.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said the life changing injury could have easily been avoided if the company had provided workers with proper training.

"It's incredibly frustrating to know this company had been provided with an appropriate safety procedure for the saw but inexplicably failed to pass this information on to its workers," Ms Nielsen said.

"WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute employers who fail to ensure the safety of their workers is always their first priority."

To manage risks employers should:

  • identify hazards, assess the risks associated with them and eliminate or control those risks by isolating them or using an alternative
  • train staff in the safe operation of machines and equipment and provide written procedures in the worker's first language
  • develop and implement safe operating procedures in consultation with employees and health and safety representatives
  • ensure safety guards and gates are compliant and fixed to machines at all times
  • regularly service and inspect machines and equipment
  • place signs on or near a machine to alert employees of the dangers of operating it.