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Company Fined After Employee Loses Toes

17 August 2011

Company Fined After Employee Loses Toes

Northland Stevedoring Services Limited has been fined $37,500 today following an accident at Northport Wharf, which resulted in an employee on his first day at work having three toes amputated.

The company has also been ordered to pay $15,000 in reparation after the accident on 15 November 2010.

The Whangarei District Court heard that the employee’s right foot became trapped between the wharf buffer and a vessel as he passed a piece of timber to a colleague.

“Just as the employee stepped onto the wharf buffer, a container was lifted off the vessel, causing the vessel to lean towards the buffer, crushing his right foot,” says the Department of Labour’s Whangarei Service Manager Rod Gibbon.

“The employee had no previous experience in cargo handling and should have had direct supervision until he had the knowledge and experience to carry out the work safely.

“The company had identified the hazard of the trapping point but left this employee completely unprepared for dealing with this hazard, resulting in him losing three toes,” says Mr Gibbon.

Since the accident, the company has ensured that new employees are adequately supervised and warned about the hazard of the trapping point. They have also placed extra signage on gangways to ensure that employees use them to access ships.

• Northland Stevedoring Services Limited was convicted and sentenced on one charges under Section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. This states: Every employer shall take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees while at work; and in particular shall take all practicable steps to—
o (a) provide and maintain for employees a safe working environment; and
o (b) provide and maintain for employees while they are at work facilities for their safety and health; and
o (c) ensure that plant used by any employee at work is so arranged, designed, made, and maintained that it is safe for the employee to use; and
o (d) ensure that while at work employees are not exposed to hazards arising out of the arrangement, disposal, manipulation, organisation, processing, storage, transport, working, or use of things—
(i) in their place of work; or
(ii) near their place of work and under the employer's control; and
o (e) develop procedures for dealing with emergencies that may arise while employees are at work.
• The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 is available online: http://legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1992/0096/latest/DLM278829.html

ENDS

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