A 4th year apprentice diesel fitter was seriously injured in an incident at a sand and gravel business, while working on an electrical fault in the engine of a backhoe.He was being supervised by an experienced fitter/mechanic and was working with another apprentice at the time.
The company has now been issued a $125,000 fine and ordered to pay costs over the incident that happened in 2017. No conviction was recorded.
The incident happened while the supervising mechanic was under the backhoe and the apprentice was inside the cabin. Without informing the mechanic, the apprentice stepped out the vehicle and stood behind the cabin.When the supervising mechanic tried to jump-start the engine, he told the apprentice to turn the ignition switch, which he did by leaning in through the frame where the rear window is usually positioned.
The apprentices leg was pinned between the boom and body of the vehicle, as the engine started and the hydraulic arm of the hoe slewed to the left.
A Workplace Health and Safety Queensland investigation revealed that the backhoe was in bad condition. The cabin was missing the back window and the rollover protection was severely rusted.
The apprentice, who had to have his leg amputated, is still undergoing medical treatment and suffering psychological injury due to the ordeal.