$2.57 million enforceable undertaking for Queensland Department of Education

The Queensland Department of Education (DoE) recently entered into a $2.57 million enforceable undertaking over an incident in which a student was injured while using a saw as part of a school project.

On 1 June 2018, the student at Dysart State High School was injured while participating in an industrial technology and design class. At the time of the incident the student was operating a compound mitre saw to make coasters from an offcut piece of timber.

The undertaking has a total minimum expenditure of $2,569,062 including recoverable departmental costs, and includes (but is not limited to):

  • an acknowledgment and clear statement of the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged contravention
  • a statement of regret and assurance about future work health and safety (WHS) behaviours
  • disseminating information about the undertaking to all DoE staff, providing a copy of the EU to specified stakeholders and publishing a copy on the DoE intranet
  • reviewing, updating and undergoing third party auditing of DoE’s Health, Safety and Wellbeing (HSW) Management System (HSWMS). This initiative includes the development and internal publication of a HSWMS awareness training, HSW leadership training and funding for a new project support role
  • updating the existing Industrial Technology and Design Practical Workshop (ITDPW) Inspection checklist to ensure a risk management approach is adopted to the identification, assessment and control of high-risk hazards
  • implementing and monitoring a HSW risk register that covers all HSW hazards, identifies appropriate controls and the risk levels associated with the hazards
  • establishing a safety culture framework to provide support and guidance to enable work areas to manage safety proactively. 
  • funding two new senior health and safety consultant training positions for two-years to assist with the implementation of the safety capability program and development of action plans and required training as a result of the survey findings
  • updating HSW key performance indicators for all principals and regional directors that will focus on annual safety assessments and class 1 and 2 incident completion rates and completed workplace HSW committee meetings
  • developing, implementing and regularly reviewing an assurance auditing program for ITDPWs that will assess every ITD workplace within a three-year period
  • employing four internal A06 HSW consultants for a period of three years, to undertake the practical workshops internal safety assurance audits
  • updating annual safety assessments at all schools to include hazards associated with ITDPWs
  • developing and implementing an online mandatory WHS awareness induction program for all teachers, teacher aides, supply and contract teachers working in an ITDPW
  • engaging TAFE Queensland to assist in developing a set of competency standards and specialist training aligned to an associated training package and the Australian Qualifications Framework for technologies teachers. Any teacher (including those on supply or contract), who are assigned to teach or supervise in a ITDPW will be required to meet the minimum competency standards
  • researching and investigating a guarding prototype for band saws, used in state school ITDPW, which will prevent access to the blade. DoE has committed $50,000 to engage an independent specialist to undertake risk assessments of band saws, develop a prototype skirt guard and pilot its use and assess its effectiveness. If found effective, the guard will be patented, shared with non-state schools and an additional $100,000 of funding will be provided to state schools to assist in implementing the new guard
  • partnering with Central Queensland University to provide a bursary scheme for third or fourth-year students undertaking a Bachelor of Education which specialises in technologies
  • the recovery of departmental costs associated with the EU.