A worker lost the eyesight in his right eye when a piece of metal flew into it while he was using a chisel at work. His employer failed to notify Worksafe of the injury. The employer also failed to provide full health and safety training to his workers on the use of protective clothing and equipment, such as safety glasses, because he said this was “common sense”, and that protective clothing was too expensive to provide.

Under our workplace health and safety laws, once an employer has become aware of a notifiable injury, they must notify Worksafe as soon as reasonably possible. A notifiable injury is one which requires (or would usually require) a person to be admitted to hospital for immediate treatment. In this case, the injury was a notifiable one because it was a serious eye injury likely to result in loss of vision, and required immediate hospital treatment.

Employers are also under a duty to ensure the health and safety of workers who work for the organisation. This includes employers providing protective gear, and health and safety training where it is appropriate to do so. No employer is exempt from this duty, whatever the size of their business. Failing to provide protective gear due to its high cost will not be a defence for employers.

In this case, the employer was ordered to pay $22,500 for causing emotional harm and consequential loss.


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