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Industrial shredders to be checked

27 February 2006

Industrial shredders to be checked

The Department of Labour is checking the safety of industrial shredders, used in refuse transfer stations, in the wake of last week’s accident in New Plymouth.

Health and safety inspectors from the Department’s 14 regions will visit all known refuse transfer and composting stations that use industrial shredders to ensure they are safe for use.

Chief advisor, health and safety Mike Cosman said inspectors would assess whether shredding plants were set up to operate safely. This would include checking the guarding of dangerous parts of the machinery, systems for clearing blockages, procedures for any sole-charge work, and emergency responses. The safety checks will begin immediately.

Mr Cosman said the move came as a result of last week’s accident, which cost a Manawatu Waste Ltd worker an arm and both legs.

“While the Department has no reason to believe that there are widespread problems with these types of shredders, we do want reassurance that they are operating safely. This also does not mean to say that we have established machinery failure as a cause of last week’s accident.”

He said the Department’s investigation into the shredder accident in New Plymouth was continuing. Witnesses were still being interviewed and the machine involved was being tested for faults. The company’s other machine, in Wanganui, had been stopped and was also being testing. The victim was not yet well enough to be interviewed.

“The Department is aware that this is a very emotional time for the family and colleagues of this man, but we must continue to carry out our investigation impartially and methodically.

“If workers have concerns about the safety of any machinery they should raise them with their employers. Remember that in certain circumstances, employees can refuse to perform work likely to cause them serious harm.”

Mr Cosman said the investigation could take some months to complete.


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