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Consistent machine guarding failures a wakeup call

Consistent machine guarding failures a wakeup call for manufacturing sector

In the last three months, four manufacturing companies have been sentenced under the Health and Safety at Work Act on charges for inadequately guarding machinery. So far this year, 11 manufacturing companies have been sentenced for machine guarding failures.

The latest was All Flex Packaging Limited, sentenced in the Manukau District Court last week following an incident in January 2017. A worker was operating machinery at their Wiri factory when his right hand was pulled into an exposed nip point between two rollers. The worker’s hand was crushed and he suffered degloving injuries and fractures to his hand.

WorkSafe investigated the company that provides packaging, film and print services to the food industry, and found inadequate machine guarding, no risk assessment by a competent person, no Safe Operating Procedure for the machine and inadequate training for the machine operators in the use of the machine.

The failure to adequately guard machinery has been a consistent issue in the manufacturing sector and WorkSafe says the industry needs to lift its competency in assessing the risk that machinery poses and guarding the machinery adequately.

“WorkSafe is visiting scenes too often where something has got stuck in a machine, a machine has jammed or something needed to be moved and a worker has damaged a limb in the process. It is time for the manufacturing industry to lift its game and take ownership for the injuries that are occurring on its watch” WorkSafe’s Head of Specialist Interventions Simon Humphries said.

Notes:

- A fine of $100,000 was imposed.

- Reparation of $20,000 was ordered.

- All Flex Packaging Limited was sentenced under sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and 2(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

o Being a PCBU, failed to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers who worked for the PCBU, while the workers were at work in the business or undertaking, and that failure exposed any individual to a risk of serious injury or death.

- The maximum penalty is a fine not exceeding $1,500,000.

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