Authorities have warned West Australian employers to immediately report workplace incidents after a young labourer had to have seven fingers amputated.
PT Supplies Group was fined $220,000 in the Perth Magistrates Court this week after pleading guilty to failing to provide a safe environment for the worker, whose hands were caught in forklift chains in February 2018.
The steel importation and land development company was fined an additional $20,000 after it failed to report the injury for more than a month.
WorkSafe said the labourer, then 19, was instructed to use the forklift to clear a firebreak of pallets of bricks and debris at a property in Banjup.
He got out to examine the chains after noticing they had become slack and tried to lift them back up onto the wheel.
The chains suddenly became tense and his hands were caught.
An ambulance and firefighters were called when his co-worker returned several minutes later. His hands were freed but seven fingers were amputated
Surgeons were able to reattach two of the fingers but their movement was left severely restricted.
WorkSafe Commissioner Darren Kavanagh said PT Supplies had instructed the worker to use the forklift without the required licence and did not provide him or other employees with any induction or training in safe work procedures.
“This young man suffered devastating and permanent injuries, but PT Supplies did not notify me forthwith as is required by law, and this resulted in a sizeable fine of $20,000,” he said on Thursday.
“This is a clear warning to all employers of the need to familiarise themselves with what injuries are notifiable and to be sure that any included injuries are notified to me.
“The young man involved in this incident will live with a severe disability for the rest of his life as a result of an incident that could readily have been avoided.”
Kavanagh said the magistrate had reinforced that small businesses were workers spoke limited English were not exempt from complying with legislation.