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Lucky Escape for Worker Injured by Poorly Guarded Machinery

26 June 2012
Lucky Escape for Worker Injured by Poorly Guarded Machinery

Manufacturing company Proform Plastics Limited was today fined $42,000 after a worker narrowly avoided being seriously injured by unguarded machinery.

The Hamilton District Court heard that on 7 October 2011 an employee of the Hamilton-based company was using a computer numerical control router machine to trim tailgates.

A tailgate jammed in the machine, and believing it had stopped completely, the worker reached across to cut the tailgate free with a grinder. The blade of the machine began moving again, cutting the worker’s arm and causing minor injuries.

“This man is extremely lucky to have sustained only minor injuries. The outcome could have been much worse,” says the Department of Labour’s Central General Manager Ona De Rooy.

“All too often we see preventable deaths and injuries resulting from poorly guarded machinery and the lack of associated safety procedures,” says Ms De Rooy.

The Department’s three-year Safe Use of Machinery Project launched in 2010 is focused on reducing injury and harm caused by poorly guarded machinery.

“There is no excuse for preventable injuries happening at work,” says Ms De Rooy.

“This accident could have been avoided entirely if Proform Plastics had put in place adequate guarding and interlocking devices to ensure the safety of its workers.

“We encourage all employers to familiarise themselves with the machine guarding information available on the Department’s website,” she says.

Notes to Editor

• Proform Plastics Limited was charged with one offence under Section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.
Section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 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.govtnz/act/public/1992/0096/latest/DLM278829.html

• The Department’s Safe Use Of Machinery Project is part of the Manufacturing Sector Action Plan – developed in association with the Government and sector stakeholders - as part of the National Action Agenda. It is a three year national initiative that focuses on lifting the standard of machine guarding in New Zealand. Health and Safety Inspectors are focusing on raising awareness amongst employers and employees of the importance of machine guarding and checking that effective procedures and systems are in place to ensure the safe use of machinery in the workplace.
• The Department has developed a series of factsheets to help businesses ensure their machinery is adequately guarded, and their employees are safe.

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