NZ company sentenced after worker was crushed in potato harvester

An agriculture company in New Zealand has been sentenced on Wednesday following the death of a worker in August 2016 after he became trapped in a potato harvester on a farm in Shannon.

It was charged under New Zealand’s Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 for failing to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers who worked for the PCBU, while the workers were at work in the business of undertaking.

An investigation conducted by WorkSafe New Zealand found that the machine had no guarding over a nip point between exposed rollers on the machine and that the company had no lone worker policy in place. It also did not have a standard operating procedure for the safe operation of the machine.

The company admitted it failed

“This fatality is a sombre reminder that some of the machines we work with have the potential to kill us. When it comes to big pieces of machinery, there are no second chances. Limbs and lives are lost,” said WorkSafe Deputy General Manager, Investigations and Specialist Services, Simon Humphries.

“It’s a new year. Take stock of your machines and the risks associated with them and spend the time to mitigate those risks – so that if you or your workers make a mistake – you just might have saved a life.”

No fine could be imposed. However, the court said had a fine been available, it would have been $ 330,000. The company was ordered to pay $ 85,000 in reparation to the victim’s family.

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