Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Death highlights need to check for new hazards


04 December 2008

Death highlights need to check for hazards when work processes change

The death of a Nelson worker struck by machinery he was cleaning highlights the need for employers to identify whether a change in processes has created new, potentially deadly, hazards, the Department of Labour says.

Nelson fruit and berry processing company Gibb Holdings (Nelson) Limited was today fined $25,000 after being prosecuted over the worker's death by the department. The company, which trades as Sujon, was also ordered to pay reparation of $25,000 to the victim's family.

"This death might have been prevented if the company had identified new hazards that were created when it changed the process for freezing berries and cleaning of the machinery," the department's Nelson-based Service Manager Annette Baxter says. "The company should also have developed a safe procedure for cleaning the machine and trained the victim in this safe procedure."

On January 7, 2008 the company introduced an extra process to its berry processing line. To enable the freezer to be cleaned, a 340kg machine used to remove berry stalks and flowers had to be moved into a pre-processing room where it would also be cleaned. A week later the victim moved the machine part way to the pre-processing room and began cleaning it without locking the castor wheels in place. The machine began to move and one of its legs rolled into an uncovered drainage sump, causing the machine to tip over and kill the victim.

"It's essential that employers think through the hazards that might be created when processes are changed," Ms Baxter says. "In this case the company hadn't considered the risks created by the machine being moved around at the same time as the drainage sumps were likely to be uncovered as part of the overall cleaning process."

Having a clear procedure for cleaning the machine could have reinforced the need to cover all sumps and drains before moving the machine, and to make sure the machine's wheels were locked after it was moved, she says. "Training for the victim could have included information on the need to lock the wheels before cleaning."

The department has a free online tool that can help employers identify hazards, which is available at


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Auckland Transport: Successful Bridge Repair Opens Two Additional Lanes To Traffic

The opening of two additional lanes on the Auckland Harbour Bridge this morning will help relieve some motorway congestion for motorists heading home to the North Shore tonight. More>>


Statistics New Zealand: COVID-19 Sees Record 12.2 Percent Fall In New Zealand’s Economy

Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 12.2 percent in the June 2020 quarter, the largest quarterly fall recorded since the current series began in 1987, as the COVID-19 restrictions in place through the quarter impacted economic activity, Stats NZ said ... More>>


Climate: Scientists Release ‘Blueprint’ To Save Critical Ecosystems And Stabilize The Earth’s Climate

A group of scientists and experts produced the first comprehensive global-scale analysis of terrestrial areas essential for biodiversity and climate resilience, totaling 50.4% of the Earth's land. The report was published in Science Advances ... More>>


MPI: Independent Review Launched Into Assurances For Safe Transport Of Livestock By Sea

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has launched an independent review of the assurances it receives for the safe transport of livestock by sea. MPI Director-General Ray Smith says Mike Heron QC has been appointed to lead the review, which is expected ... More>>


Computers: New Zealand PC Market Grows Nearly 40% Due To Work From Home Demand

COVID-19 had large impacts on demand for PCs as businesses prepared for lockdowns by purchasing notebooks to mobilise their workforce. In the second quarter of 2020, New Zealand's Traditional PC market experienced a 39.7% year-on-year (YoY) growth ... More>>


University Of Auckland: Whale-Watching By Satellite – Follow Their Travels Online

Scientists have successfully attached satellite tracking tags to six New Zealand southern right whales, or tohorā, and are inviting the public to follow the whales’ travels online. Part of a major research project involving the University of Auckland ... More>>

Commerce Commission: Kiwibank Admits System Failures And Agrees To Pay Customers $5.2 Million

Kiwibank has entered into a settlement agreement with the Commerce Commission after reporting that it failed to have in place robust home loan variation disclosure policies, procedures and systems. In a settlement dated 27 August 2020, Kiwibank admitted that ... More>>

Ministry of Health: Public Transport Distancing Requirements Relaxed

Physical distancing requirements on public transport have been reviewed by the Ministry of Health to determine whether they are still required at Alert Level 2 (or below). The Ministry’s assessment is that mandatory face covering and individuals tracking ... More>>


NZHIA: New Zealand Hemp Industry Set To Generate $2 Billion Per Annum And Create 20,000 Jobs

A new report says a fully enabled hemp industry could generate $2 billion in income for New Zealand by 2030, while also creating thousands of new jobs. Written by industry strategist Dr Nick Marsh, the report has prompted calls from the New Zealand Hemp ... More>>


Stats NZ: One In 14 Employed People Report High Risk Of Losing Jobs

About one in 14 workers say they expect to lose their job or business by mid-2021, Stats NZ said today. A survey of employed people in the June 2020 quarter showed 7 percent felt there was a high or almost certain chance of losing their job or business ... More>>

ASB Quarterly Economic Forecast: NZ Economy Doing Better Than Expected, But Challenges Remain

August lockdown estimated to have shaved 8% off NZ’s weekly GDP, and 0.5% off annual GDP Economy now expected to shrink 5% (year-on-year) by end of 2020 Unemployment rate now expected to peak at 7.2% The latest ASB Quarterly Economic Forecast is less ... More>>