Meat manufacturing company fined after failing to safely guard machinery

A South Island meat manufacturing company’s failure to safely guard its machinery and properly train staff has left one of its workers with serious injuries.

Today Alliance Group Limited was sentenced at Invercargill District Court and fined $331,875 as a result of the January 2018 incident in which one of its workers had the tips of their fingers amputated while cleaning the mincer box of a beef boning machine.

Following the incident the worker was unable to locate anyone to assist them on site, and had to drive to Gore Hospital for medical assistance which was more than 12km away.

A WorkSafe investigation found the lid of the mincer box wasn’t secure. The worker had not received adequate training to clean the machine. There were also no written procedures for the operation or clean-up of the machine.

WorkSafe Chief Inspector Investigations Steve Kelly said numerous health and safety failings led to this incident, which will continue to impact the worker for the rest of their life.

“This incident could have been avoided simply by placing a padlock over the mincer lid to secure it, or by ensuring workers were provided with adequate training and supervision.

“The risks associated with unguarded moving parts of machinery in the meat processing industry are obvious and well-known. However, machine guarding failures in the industry continue to cause significant injuries to workers and it’s unacceptable.”

Alliance Group Limited was fined $332,000 last year after an incident at another of its plants in which a workers hand was amputated on machinery used for dehydrating blood into powder.

Notes

  • A fine of $331,875 was imposed.
  • Reparation of $10,000 was ordered ($20,000 already paid).
  • Alliance Group Limited was sentenced 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 is reasonably practicable, the safety of workers who work for the PCBU at the Mataura Plant while the workers are at work in the business namely cleaning the machine in the hogging department, failed to comply with that duty, and that failure exposed the workers to a risk of serious injury arising from being cut by an inadequately guarded mincer box.
  • The maximum penalty is a fine not exceeding $1,500,000.

 

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