Teen apprentice dealt devastating blow after workplace accident

A young apprentice fears his career will suffer after an accident with a table saw left his finger hanging on by a thread just a few weeks into the job.

A teenage boy, only a few weeks into his apprenticeship, has been dealt a devastating blow after his finger was sliced by a table saw not fitted with a safety guard.

Robyn Myles dropped her son Craig off at Floor It Logistics on Brisbane’s south side and remembers the last thing his boss said to her as she left: “he is totally safe”.

Only a few hours later she received a message from one of his colleagues telling her “not to freak out” but her son was at a GP clinic after having sliced through his finger with a table saw.

“He wasn’t at a GP he’d actually been dumped and left to wait by himself at the Prince Charles emergency department … then they went and got him, took him to a GP who sent him back to the hospital,” Ms Myles said.

Craig cut through this ligament, tendons and the joint of his dominant hand’s index finger, he has already had one surgery but doctors say he could be facing many more in the future.

The Wellington Point teen was only a month into his employment when he suffered the potentially life-changing injury.

“I was pretty excited to get an apprenticeship especially in construction,” he said.

“Now I am worried about the future and what job I may be able to do.”

Work Safe is investigating the incident.

Injuries involving amputations and cuts account for around 20 per cent of Work Cover’s total claims every year with young workers having some of the highest injury rates in the state.

At the start of December industrial relations Minister Grace Grace warned employers taking on young people over the holiday season to ensure they were properly trained and supervised in their new roles.

“The message for employers is clear – young workers are keen to do a good job for their new bosses, but often lack experience in how to work safely. So give them the right tools and set them up for success,” she told parliament.

Mrs Myles said she had been left horrified by Floor It Logistics’ response to the injury with one colleague stating: he had to “learn the hard way” not to “cut corners”.

Craig had not been trained in how to use the saw and Floor It Logistics admitted in a text that the safety guard had been removed.

“It’s been horrible, he’s only 16 and it is his first full time job and it was involving things that could seriously hurt him, I trusted them,” she said.

The family has now engaged Ashleigh Kruger from Shine Lawyers.

“This is a fellow who needed a proper supervisor, to be supervised with the equipment he was using, he was using a saw without a safety guard which just seems so simple and so easy to do but unfortunately this employer has cut corners,” she said.

Ms Kruger said the impact on Craig was “devastating”.

“Unfortunately employers can get lax, particularly in the trades world, lax with training, lax with safety precautions,” she said.

“I urge employers to be mindful they have a non-delegable duty to keep their workers safe … this accident should not have happened.”

Floor It Logistics did not respond to a request for comment.

Source: Courier Mail

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