Take action as soon as work safety risks are identified, urges WorkSafe New Zealand

WorkSafe New Zealand reminded businesses to act as soon as risks are identified to ensure the safety of workers.

This follows the first sentencing under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 of a plastic recycler and manufacturer for health and safety breaches after a worker’s hand was dragged into a machine while pouring recycled plastic into it in April 2016.

Worksafe’s investigation found that the company had inadequate systems for identifying and managing risks; their safe operating procedures were outdated; policies and processes for training were lacking, and key safety features such as emergency stop buttons within reach of operators missing.

The company has been fined $ 100,000 and ordered reparation of $ 37,000.

WorkSafe General Manager Operations and Specialist Services, Brett Murray said it is important not to ignore work safety risks once identified.

“The lesson here is to fix machinery as soon as risks are identified. If you can’t fix it, then take it out of service until it is safe to use,” he said.

“The company identified issues with the guarding on this machine six weeks before the incident, and yet at the time of the incident, nothing had been done to guard, or isolate the machine.

“The failure of the Budget Plastics Ltd to take action to this known risk left their employee with a life-long injury. Sadly, it could have been avoided by acting quickly and guarding the machine properly.

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