If it’s not safe, fix it
Companies which identify safety issues with their machinery have a duty to remedy the problems and ensure any new operational processes are consistently applied, says WorkSafe.
NZCC Limited, a company that processes and supplies sausage casings, was sentenced at the Hastings District Court yesterday after a July 2017 incident in which a worker’s left hand was trapped between two rollers while they were operating a sausage casing machine.
WorkSafe’s investigation found that after a similar incident on a sausage casing machine two years earlier, NZCC Ltd engaged an engineer whose proposed solutions proved to be ineffective. The company then reverted to using the machine in its unsafe state. The sausage casing machine involved in this incident was in the same unsafe state.
The worker’s hand was trapped for approximately 20 minutes. They suffered a broken wrist and de-gloving of the back of their hand, requiring skin grafts.
NZCC Ltd was fined $210,000 for the incident and ordered to pay reparation of more than $18,000 (in addition to $10,000 already paid to the victim).
WorkSafe’s Chief Inspector Hayden Mander says it is important to make sure machines meet required safety standards and there are effective safety protocols in place.
“NZCC Ltd engaged with an engineer, but they had no knowledge of relevant machinery safety standards. Instead of giving up and using the machine in an unsafe state, NZCC Ltd should have sought help from a machinery expert with proper knowledge. The company’s failure to address a known safety issue has left the worker with significant, and completely unnecessary, injuries.
“This is powerful machinery which is able to cause serious injury. Employers should always ensure safety precautions are in place and workers are kept out of harm’s way.”
- A fine of $210,000 was imposed.
- Reparation of $15,000 was ordered in addition to a sum of $10,000 already paid to the victim, as well as $3271 for consequential loss.
- NZCC Ltd was charged under sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and (2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
- 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, namely operating a finishing/cleaning machine, and that failure exposed any individual to a risk of death or serious injury.
- S 48(2)(C) maximum penalty is a fine not exceeding $1,500,000.