Workplace injuries can result in stiff fines for employers

Published by Marshall & Gibson Lawyers on the 09 May 2017

It's common sense that companies should have an obligation, and a vested interest, in keeping their employees safe at work. When your people are safe, they tend to be happier, more motivated to work hard and more likely to stay with their employers for the long haul. If any sort of workplace injury happens, all of the above factors tend to deteriorate.

Also, injuries can be devastating to Australian businesses financially. One look at the latest news headlines is all it takes to confirm this. For companies that are negligent in any way that results in a worker getting hurt, there can be staggering penalties, not to mention negative media attention that will only exacerbate the problem. For these reasons, it's abundantly clear that worker safety should be a business priority.

A whopping $250,000 fine for a workplace accident in NSW

When employers don't do enough to keep their employees safe, they can get in real trouble. For example, a release from the NSW Government's Office of Finance, Services and Innovation just revealed that a Coffs Harbour manufacturing business was fined $250,000 when a 17-year-old work experience student was injured in August 2014.

The student had the tips of two of his fingers crushed when his hand got caught in a brake press machine at an electric company site in Toormina. The fingers had to be amputated. The company was fined because, according to SafeWork NSW Executive Director Peter Dunphy, the company didn't do enough to provide safety guarding for the young worker.

Harsh penalties send a clear message

Unfortunately, the worker can't have his fingers back; no economic sanction can change that. But what hefty fines can do is provide a clear incentive for companies to do better in the future.

"This court decision sends a strong message to the business community of the need to protect young and vulnerable workers so that tragic incidents like this do not occur," Mr Dunphy said, according to The Coffs Coast Advocate.

We represent employees in Sydney and NSW after workplace injuries

Stiff government penalties have led companies to make real improvements in the area of worker safety, but they're still far from perfect. Workplace injuries do still happen, and if you've been the victim of one, you will certainly need legal help.

Our team at Marshall and Gibson Lawyers Sydney specialise in workers compensation claims to help hardworking people claim damages after accidents at work, if you've suffered a compensable workplace injury you may be entitled to a hefty sum. Call us today on 1800 675 417 and ask for a free case evaluation to learn more.