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Company fined $14,000 after worker strangled

Company fined $14,000 after worker strangled

An Auckland orthotics company has been sentenced to pay $14,000 after a man was strangled to death in machinery last year.

Orthotic Centre Limited was sentenced in the Auckland District Court today by Judge Robert Kerr. The entire fine is to be paid to the man's widow.

"A man was killed after his tie became entangled in a machine, causing the immediate tightening of his tie around his neck which pulled him down rapidly and caused death," said Madeleine Setchell, spokeswoman, Occupational Safety and Health Service.

"The company should have ensured the worker did not wear loose fitting clothing that could be caught in such machines.

"Although the company had identified the hazard of entanglement, the worker was required to wear a tie as his work consisted of two parts, one was dealing with patients and the other dealing with machinery.

"Everyone has the right to go to work and be safe. Companies must ensure that workplace hazards are identified and controlled correctly, and that their safety systems are constantly reviewed and updated. It is unacceptable for employers to rely on their employees to avoid the risk when the employer could have eliminated the risk in the first instance.

"The company's dress code for professional and clinical staff required them to be well presented in their attire. This included the wearing of neckties, which, at the time of the accident, was common practice.

"To control the hazard of entanglement, the defendant company's procedure was to require clinical staff to tuck ties and loose clothing away when entering the workshop. At the time of the accident, the deceased was wearing a tie which was in accordance with company policy.

"The company should have ensured that the dress code for clinical orthotists did not require ties to be worn. The company is involved nationally in both the fabrication of orthoses and importation and distribution of orthotic supplies. An orthosis is an appliance worn on the body to reduce or prevent deformity, or to provide support, relieve pain and facilitate movement."

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