Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Shredder was an accident waiting to happen

6 December 2006


Shredder that claimed worker’s limbs an accident waiting to happen


The horrific injuries suffered by a New Plymouth shredder operator earlier this year are a stark reminder to employers that workplace health and safety must be taken seriously, the Department of Labour says.

Manawatu Waste Ltd employee Christopher Fromont had his legs and an arm amputated after he was dragged into the cutting discs of the company’s green waste shredder.

The company was today fined $10,000 and ordered to pay reparations of $30,000 after being convicted and sentenced for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that Mr Fromont was not exposed to hazards arising out of the operation of the shredder.

The Department, which investigated the incident and charged the company under the Health and Safety in Employment Act, found that the shredder was not adequately guarded, nor were there documented standard operating procedures for the shredder.

Workplace services manager for Taranaki Brett Murray described the machine as “a disaster waiting to happen”.

There was insufficient guarding to ensure operators could not access the dangerous parts of the machine while it was operating. This was exacerbated by the fact that it was often necessary for operators to enter the hopper of the shredder to unjam the cutting discs.

It was while attempting to clear a blockage on 22 February that Mr Fromont got his foot caught in the rotating cutting discs, and was dragged into them. Members of the public heard him calling for help and raised the alarm. The shredder was able to be stopped, however Mr Fromont was trapped in the cutting discs for more than an hour. Two of his limbs had to be amputated in order to free him.

“While there were a number of methods which could be used for removing a blockage from the cutting discs, Mr Fromont thought that the only way to unblock a jam was to get into the hopper of the shredder while the cutting discs were going and try and move the blockage with his feet, which was clearly not a safe practice,” Mr Murray said.

“He advised the Department that he would climb into the hopper of the shredder while the cutting discs were operating ‘about every second time’ he used it.

“With the best of intentions, Mr Fromont appears to have adopted this extremely dangerous work method by default, as he could see no other way of unjamming the cutting discs. There were no documented guidelines or procedures for clearing blockages, which should have been a given for this type of operation.”

Manawatu Waste Ltd had identified issues with the guarding of the shredder as far back as June 2004, Mr Murray said. The company’s health and safety contract manager had at that time raised concerns about access and guarding, and recommended modifications to make it safe for employees and also members of the public, who would deposit material in the hopper for composting. None of the recommended modifications had been made as at the time of the accident.

Following the incident at Manawatu Waste Ltd, the Department inspected dozens of industrial shredders around the country. At two sites, in Wellington and Auckland, guarding issues for shredders and conveyors were found and urgent improvements were ordered.

“Employers must never take it for granted that employees know the right or safe way to carry out tasks,” Mr Murray said. “The more dangerous the work activity, the more vigilant they must be to build a culture of safe work practices.”

Under the HSE Act, most employees have the right to refuse to carry out work they believe on reasonable grounds is likely to cause them serious harm.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Whether We Should Be Betting Quite So Heavily On Astra Zeneca’s Covid Vaccine

According to this week’s Speech from the Throne, maintaining public safety during the pandemic will remain the government’s top priority. Next year will (hopefully) bring the rolling out of a free vaccination against Covid-19 to New Zealander. Currently, there are three possible vaccine contenders but the effectiveness of the vaccine will be only one of the factors determining which vaccine will pre-dominate. On the basis of the cost per dose, and the ease of manufacture, storage and distribution, the Astra Zeneca/Oxford University vaccine will almost certainly be the prime choice for New Zealand, at least initially... More>>

 

New Zealand Government: Speech From The Throne

It is my privilege to exercise the prerogative of Her Majesty the Queen and open the 53rd Parliament.
In the October election, New Zealanders elected a majority Government for the first time under our Mixed Member Proportional electoral system... More>>

Grant Robertson: Government To Review Housing Settings

New Zealand’s stronger-than-expected economic performance has flowed through to housing demand, so the Government will review housing settings to improve access to the market, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “Our focus More>>

ALSO:

Law Commission: Recommends New DNA Laws For Criminal Investigations

Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission today released a report that recommends a new, comprehensive regime to control how DNA is obtained, used and retained for criminal investigations. The report has revealed significant gaps in the operation ... More>>

ALSO:


New Zealand Government: To Declare A Climate Emergency

The Government will declare a climate emergency next week, Climate Change Minister James Shaw said today. “We are in the midst of a climate crisis that will impact on nearly every aspect of our lives and the type of planet our children will inherit ... More>>

ALSO:

Economy: Crown Accounts Reflect Govt’s Careful Economic Management

The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance ... More>>

ALSO:

Green Party: Announce Portfolio Reshuffle With Talented And Energised Caucus Team

“The Green Party caucus offers a breadth of talent and energy to the Parliament this term. In ten MPs you have a small business owner, a human rights lawyer, an academic, a climate negotiator, a transport planner, and so much more”, Green Party ... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels