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Winstone Pulp fined $29,000 for unguarded saw

7 September 2012

Winstone Pulp fined $29,000 for unguarded saw

Tangiwai-based, Winstone Pulp International, has been ordered to pay a fine of $29,000 for a hazardous snip saw that had been used unsafely for more than seven years.

The Court heard that following an accident the saw was inspected by a Labour Group Health and Safety Inspector who observed that the was no effective guard on the saw - contrary to the general guidance about guarding provided by Ministry.

Labour Group General Manager, John Howard, said: “Unguarded machinery is extremely dangerous and an accident waiting to happen. The general guidance around guarding machinery is long-standing, well-understood and easily available from the Labour Group website.

“There is also specific guidance around the required level of guarding for these types of saws.

“When you consider the time that this machine has been operational and unguarded together with the easy availability of clear guidance, then there is no excuse whatsoever for this company to be operating such an inherently dangerous piece of machinery.”

“All too often employees are seriously injured at work, when it is their fundamental right to go home safe at the end of their working day.”

MBIE-Labour has a three-year project under way to reduce the number of serious harm and fatal accidents resulting from the unsafe use of machinery.

Winstone Pulp International appeared in the Palmerston North District Court today.

Winstone Pulp International was charged with one offence under Sections 7 and 50(1)(a) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, which states. Being an employer, failed to ensure that there were in place effective methods for systematically identifying existing hazards to employees at work.

The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 is available online: http://legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1992/0096/latest/DLM278829.html

The MBIE has developed a series of factsheets to help businesses ensure their machinery is adequately guarded, and their employees are safe. These are part of the MBIE’s Safe Use Of Machinery Project – a 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.

ENDS

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