01:39 pm, Monday 8 November, 2010
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) has been brought to court by WorkSafe Victoria over injuries sustained by two secondary school students in metalwork classes.
At Melbourne County Court, the department pleaded guilty to breaching Section 23 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and was fined $60,000.
The charges were in connection to two incidents in 2005 in Kangaroo Flat and Kyneton secondary schools involving a Year 10 and Year 9 student, respectively.
Both pupils injured their fingers during metalwork classes while using grinders with inadequate guards.
In the two incidents, the students’ hands were pulled into the gap between the grinding wheel and the tool rest.
“Getting practical experience in woodwork and metalwork classes is an important part of education – but some of the equipment can be dangerous,” said Ian Forsyth, WorkSafe’s Executive Director for Health and Safety.
“The Department, schools, teachers and supervisors must understand that students might not realise that this sort of equipment can cause serious injury.
“Risks to students could be faulty or unsafe equipment, not getting enough instruction in how to use the equipment, and not being supervised closely enough.
“Like any workplace, schools are responsible for making sure students are safe while they’re learning.”