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Paul - holiday work goes wrong

This illustrative picture shows cut logs. The logs are stacked in a lumber yard. The end of the logs have been sprayed with identifying marks.Paul is a school student aged 14 – just a few weeks short of his 15th birthday. He lives in a rural New Zealand community. Along with his mates, he gets casual work after school and in the school holidays doing log splitting at a local log harvesting and cartage firm.

Just before Easter, two of his fingers were crushed in a log splitter machine. One finger was crushed and split up its middle and the top of his middle finger had to be surgically amputated. The injury was painful and needed several hospital treatments. Paul couldn’t work for six weeks after the accident.

The accident happened at a company with a good safety record. Paul was working with an adult and was under training and supervision at the time.

But, the company wasn’t aware of the law prohibiting young people under 15 from working with machinery and in workplaces where any logging operations are being carried out.

Remember that holidays are a time when more school students are looking for work, but some types of work are particularly dangerous and there are special laws to protect young people.