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Worker fined over nail gun incident

31-08-2010
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Worker fined over nail gun incident

 

A 34-year-old labourer has been convicted and fined after shooting an apprentice with a nail gun, fracturing his arm.

Trevor Domaille, of Wodonga, VIC, pleaded guilty at the Wodonga Magistrates' Court to one charge under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 for failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of others at the workplace.

He must pay $3000 in monthly instalments of $200.

WorkSafe Victoria told the court that on September 22 last year, Mr Domaille fired a 38mm long nail into a third-year apprentice’s arm. The nail penetrated his bone and required surgery to remove it. He returned to work on restricted duties for five weeks after the surgery.

In sentencing, Magistrate Ian Von Einem described Domaille’s behaviour as “silly”.

“In fact it's almost beyond belief. It's lucky the young man wasn't more seriously injured. The thought of a nail gun being fired into one's arm sends shivers down one’s spine,” he said.

Today’s prosecution is the second nail gun-related conviction in 12 months.

In September last year, a roof tiler received a suspended four-month jail sentence after shooting an apprentice with a nail gun causing him to lose sight in one eye.

WorkSafe’s General Manager for Operations, Lisa Sturzenegger, said improper use of nail guns was unacceptable in the workplace. 

“Nail guns are high-risk/high-consequence equipment which have resulted in 1190 claims reported to WorkSafe over the past 10 financial years – that’s about two each week.

“They are powerful and can help get work done more quickly, but the consequences if they are not used correctly can be extremely serious.”

Ms Sturzenegger said a zero-tolerance approach should be taken to workplace pranks, which can lead to serious injury and potentially death.

“Everyone has a responsibility to ensure their workplace is as safe as practicable and employers need to set an example that inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated,” she said. 

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