Companies that engage in high risk work without the appropriate licence have come under the spotlight following an incident where a company allowed a 16 year old apprentice boilermaker to engage in dangerous work including dogging without the appropriate dogging licence. In fact even the worker supervising the apprentice was not in possession of his/her dogging license.
A $10,000 fine was issued to an engineering firm for allowing workers to perform high risk work without the appropriate licence. The company pleaded guilty to 2 charges relating to workers engaging in dogging work without being certified to do so.
The 16 year old apprentice was being taught dogging work and was carrying out various dangerous dogging tasks, yet high risk work licences cannot be given to anybody under 18 years old. And what made the incident even more serious is that none of the workers engaging in dogging work on the site had a dogging licence. The young worker also suffered a terrible injury in his hand resulting in the amputation of a few of his fingers.
Not only does an incident of this nature risk workers lives, but the injuries have implications for the future, the apprentice will have to adapt to life and work without his middle and index fingers which will most likely impact his ability to do certain jobs and tasks in the future. Not only would this incident have resulted in emotional scars and physical ones for the worker but he will also most likely suffer many difficulties just going about his daily life.
Read this post from SafetyCulture.com.au that explains further:
The crane operator at the engineering company’s yard had been teaching a 16 year old apprentice boilermaker dogging wok that included slinging and directing loads.
In September 2011 the apprentice was assigned to do dogging work when some steel was being moved and was supervised by the crane operator while he was directing the crane towards piles of steel and then slinging loads.
When ready the load would be lifted the height of the apprentice’s chest and he would then use his hands to guide the load.
The next day the apprentice was slinging a load of three steel beams to be placed in timber gluts however when the load reached its destination there was a jolt as the apprentice reached for the gluts.
The result was that one of the beams rolled and the right hand of the apprentice was trapped between the beams, his right index and middle fingers were amputated to the middle knuckles.
When the incident was investigated by WorkSafe WA they found that none of the workers at the site held a dogging licence even though a number had undertaken dogging work and the crane operator had trained the apprentice.
New and young workers such as apprentices seem to be getting the short end of the stick recently with many injuries and a death of an apprentice being reported this year already. Employers definitely need to be more careful about how they train apprentices and ensure that they are suitable qualified and certified for the job.
The first priority and most important training that workers, need to undergo is the White Card training which will teach them what they need to know about general hazards on a construction site.When engaging in certain high risk activities such as dogging, the law requires workers to be in possession of additional certificates of competency.
They also need to be trained on the hazards specific to the site and supervised when engaging in dangerous activities. Perhaps if these laws were followed, the apprentice in the story above would not have suffered the loss of his fingers.