Faulty machinery leads to worker’s death

WorkSafe is urging all employers to make sure machinery their workers are using is made safe and cannot injure a worker.

This comes after the Homegrown Juice Co Limited was sentenced and fined $367,500 in Hastings District Court today after a worker was fatally injured in June 2017. The worker was cleaning a bottle filling machine when her arm was drawn into the rotating equipment. It continued to rotate and the worker died at the scene.

A WorkSafe investigation found the machine was not interlocked. An interlock would have prevented it from starting while guarding was open.

The WorkSafe investigation found the machine had been imported from China and had not been assessed by a New Zealand engineer. The machine was not certified or compliant with New Zealand standards.

WorkSafe Chief Inspector Hayden Mander said interlocks are a vital protection for workers.

“They are the ‘fail safe’ for machinery which has entanglement potential and installing one in this case could have prevented a tragic death.

“If a risk is identified in a business’ operations, failing to properly manage that risk is simply unacceptable. It’s unlawful, and just as importantly, failing to manage known risks exposes workers to injury or death.

“Health and safety of workers, not production, should be a company’s first priority.

“Every business that uses machinery should consider the tragic outcome of Homegrown’s failings and commit to making sure their workers will be able to go home to their families and friends healthy and safe at the end of every working day.”

Notes:

  • A fine of $367,500 was imposed.
  • Reparations of $141,635 were ordered.
  • The Homegrown Juice Co Limited was charged under sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and (2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
    • Being a PCBU having a duty to ensure so far as reasonably practicable the health and safety of workers who work for the PCBU, did fail to comply with that duty, and that failure exposed the workers to a risk of death or serious injury.
  • S 48 (2)(c) carries a maximum penalty of $1,500,000.

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