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Employee’s Fingers Amputated in Machine Accident

5 March 2012

Employee’s Fingers Amputated in Machine Accident

Joint venture partners Green Crow Corporation and Ribbonwood Sawmilling Ltd have today been fined a total of $55,000, after one of its employees suffered serious injuries to their right hand after it became trapped in the circular saw he was working on.

The joint venture partners were also ordered to pay reparation of $20,000 following the accident in Fielding on 16 March 2011.

The Palmerston North District Court heard that the employee was using a drop saw to cut regulated lengths of timber. The stopper on the machine kept moving resulting in longer pieces of timber than was required, and therefore needed trimming.

“While re-cutting the timber, the employee leaned over the machine to reach and remove the off-cuts,” says the Department’s Central General Manager Ona De Rooy.

“Unfortunately he lost his balance and stepped on the unguarded foot pedal, causing his right hand to become clamped in the drop saw.

“Neither the foot pedal or the circular blade had any form of guarding, making this piece of machinery very dangerous to use,” says Ms De Rooy

“This employee had not received adequate safety training for using the saw, and therefore he was not aware of the hazards he was exposed to. Consequently his thumb, middle and ring fingers were amputated and his index finger was fractured.

“Last year the Department received 1,146 serious harm notifications from the manufacturing industry. This number is simply too high and in many cases, like this one, if some basic safety precautions had been in place the accident may have been prevented,” Ms De Rooy says.

Green Crow Corporation Limited was convicted on one charge under Section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 which states:

Every employer shall take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees while at work; and in particular shall take all practicable steps to—
o (a) provide and maintain for employees a safe working environment; and
o (b) provide and maintain for employees while they are at work facilities for their safety and health; and
o (c) ensure that plant used by any employee at work is so arranged, designed, made, and maintained that it is safe for the employee to use; and
o (d) ensure that while at work employees are not exposed to hazards arising out of the arrangement, disposal, manipulation, organisation, processing, storage, transport, working, or use of things—
(i) in their place of work; or
(ii) near their place of work and under the employer's control; and
o (e) develop procedures for dealing with emergencies that may arise while employees are at work.

Ribbonwood Sawmilling Ltd was convicted on one charge under Section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 which states:

Every employer shall take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees while at work; and in particular shall take all practicable steps to—
o (a) provide and maintain for employees a safe working environment; and
o (b) provide and maintain for employees while they are at work facilities for their safety and health; and
o (c) ensure that plant used by any employee at work is so arranged, designed, made, and maintained that it is safe for the employee to use; and
o (d) ensure that while at work employees are not exposed to hazards arising out of the arrangement, disposal, manipulation, organisation, processing, storage, transport, working, or use of things—
(i) in their place of work; or
(ii) near their place of work and under the employer's control; and
o (e) develop procedures for dealing with emergencies that may arise while employees are at work.

The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 is available online.

ENDS

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