Enforceable undertaking from NZ recycling and refuse company

WorkSafe New Zealand has accepted an enforceable undertaking from a recycling and refuse company, following an incident in 2016 where a worker suffered hand injuries.

The incident happened in July 2016. The worker was operating a cardboard baler which bundles waste card into bales that are held together with wire. The worker tried to reach out to a wire which was not picked up by the machine, but his gloved hand became entangled in a wire twister. The worker’s ring finger and little finger was amputated. He also sustained degloving injury to the back of his right hand.

WorkSafe conducted an investigation and found that the company had failed under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of a worker who works for the company.

WorkSafe Deputy General Manager, Investigations and Specialists Services Simon Humphries said the company has learned from the incident and proposed “appropriate, long-term, sustainable health and safety improvements that will benefit not just their workplace, but others in the recycling industry and the local community”.

“WorkSafe was particularly interested in the development of a publicly available machinery risk management course for industry and the benefit of this course for current and future workers,” he said.

The injured worker did not oppose the enforceable undertaking.

Under the enforceable undertaking, the company committed to several initiatives including:

  • Provide amends to the victim
  • Provide further training to workers in the risk assessment of machinery
  • Co-fund the development of a new machinery risk management course for industry
  • Fund course attendance for 15 workers from the wider waste industry
  • Promote the industry benefits of the course to the waste industry via WasteMinz Revolve magazine, the EMA Business Plus Magazine, and other

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