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Company to pay $9,000 after hand blown off

Company to pay $9,000 after employee's hand blown off

Gunton Farms Limited have been sentenced to pay $9,000 after a worker had his hand blown off in a workplace accident last year.

They were also fined a further $4,000 for storing nearly five times the legal limit of explosives. This is the first prosecution by OSH under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO Act).

Gunton Farms Limited were sentenced at the Auckland District Court today after being prosecuted by the Occupational Safety and Health Service (OSH).

"While carrying out general farm-hand duties on the station, the worker was seriously injured when an explosive detonated in his hand," said John Forrest, OSH Service Manager, Auckland.

"The worker was employed as a helicopter pilot and general farm-hand on a venison farm in Owhango.

"The accident happened when the employee was clearing some explosives and a detonator which were in the back of a shed on the property.

"While he was attempting to throw the explosive down a bank, it exploded while still in the swing motion of the throw, blowing off his right hand.

"The injured worker had not received adequate instruction or training on the handling and use of explosives. This training should have included information on what constitutes the appropriate storage of explosives and what constitutes their safe disposal.

Following this accident, two Department of Labour Hazardous Substances Enforcement Officers visited the property and carried out a further inspection.

"The defendant had over 13 kilos of explosives stored. The HSNO Act clearly states that amounts of explosives over 2.5 kgs must be stored in a licensed magazine," said Mr Forrest.

"In this case, the explosives were not stored in a licensed magazine.

"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."

ENDS


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