Company fined over worker’s hand amputation

A meat processing company appeared in the Timaru District Court in New Zealand on Wednesday, after an inexperienced worker’s hand was amputated in a piece of machinery in March 2017.

The worker had only been employed at the plant for only five days and was left to work unsupervised. Because of his inexperience, he opened a section of the machinery used for dehydrating blood into a powder and placed his right hand inside. His hand came in contact with a rotating screw and was amputated.

WorkSafe New Zealand’s investigation found that the company had failed to ensure the health and safety of its workers and that it was reasonably practicable for them to have undertaken an adequate risk assessment of the machine and to have ensured it was adequately guarded.

“This is a stark reminder to others operating machinery in every industry to ensure machinery is adequately guarded. New Zealand has rigorous and accessible standards for machine guarding- adhering to them and mitigating the risks your machinery poses is imperative to keeping workers safe from harm.”

Following the incident, the company had the machine guarded and produced a standard operating procedure for the task of blood drying.

A fine of $ 332,000 was imposed. The company voluntarily paid reparations prior to sentencing.

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