Training, scholarships start of fulfilling court order

Advertising scholarships for students learning about construction or health and safety is the first step of Otago Polytechnic’s community-based response resulting from a prosecution after a carpentry student partly severed his finger.

The polytechnic will offer six 50% scholarships.

Development of a community training project is also getting under way.

A group tasked with designing and implementing a programme tied to a Court-Ordered Enforceable Undertaking had its first meeting on Friday.

Otago Polytechnic chief executive Megan Gibbons also updated board members on Friday.

Advertising scholarships for next year would come first and a training programme for the community would then be developed, she said.

The polytechnic was required to enter into the undertaking, rather than pay a fine, after a court judgement released on June 18.

Various measures associated with the undertaking will cost the polytechnic $275,000.

The prosecution resulted from an April 2018 incident where a student operating a draw saw partly amputated his middle finger.

WorkSafe New Zealand found the polytechnic had inadequate guarding on the machinery and its risk assessment was inadequate.

The polytechnic entered a guilty plea in November last year.

Last month, Judge Kevin Phillips gave the polytechnic two years to meet the terms of the court-ordered undertaking.

The polytechnic paid $15,000 in reparation to the student.

In her report to the board, Dr Gibbons said the polytechnic would develop ‘‘a range of resources targeted at those new to the building industry, and others potentially more vulnerable, such as those for whom English is not their first language’’.

That would include a safety campaign using the incident as a ‘‘compelling story for taking action to manage hazards and risks’’.

A training course targeted at workers new to the construction industry or construction workers new to New Zealand would be brought in.

A training course would also be provided for senior construction workers or managers and leaders in the construction industry.

The polytechnic will file progress reports with the district court every six months.

The student at the centre of the incident had his finger reattached in hospital, had seven months of rehabilitation, completed his training and found work in the industry.

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