WorkSafe accepts enforceable undertaking from Dongwha New Zealand

We have accepted an enforceable undertaking from fibreboard manufacturing company Dongwha New Zealand Limited, following an incident in December 2016 where a worker’s arm was drawn into a piece of machinery.

The worker was using a piece of machinery that lays out wood fibres to be turned into fibreboard. While cleaning the machine the worker lost his balance and put his left hand into a nip point. His arm was drawn into the machine up to his shoulder, leaving him with three fractures to his arm. The fractures required surgery and seven days hospitalisation, and the worker was off work for 14 weeks.

Following our investigation into the incident, we found that the existing machine guarding was inadequate, that Dongwha failed to monitor the effectiveness of the controls that were in place and had not developed and implemented a safe operating procedure for use of the machine.

WorkSafe Chief Operating Officer Phil Parkes said: “This enforceable undertaking has very clear benefits within the business, the wider industry and Dongwha’s local community. Dongwha took the process very seriously and showed genuine intent in its proposed initiatives. Their willingness to engage effectively with the victim of the accident and their workers will also help this enforceable undertaking achieve its forecasted benefits.”

The injured worker felt that the enforceable undertaking was a pragmatic approach to what had occurred.

Under the enforceable undertaking Dongwha New Zealand Limited committed to initiatives including:

  • Providing amends in the form of payment to the victim, support to the victim and ACC top-up.
  • Undertaking a health and safety benchmark survey for the industry and stakeholders.
  • Providing additional staff training in machinery safety.
  • Undertaking independent auditing to assure their safety systems meet international standards.
  • Establishing and running an industry machinery safety forum for five years.
  • Funding a health and safety programme in the local high school career pathway programme.
  • Funding the St Johns Youth Training Programme for five years for disadvantaged families.
  • Funding the Riding for the Disabled Rehab Programme for 10 people.

This is the eleventh enforceable undertaking we've accepted under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015; a tool that is increasingly being used, in appropriate cases, as a positive alternative to prosecution.

Environmental Health and Safety Manager for Dongwha Limited Robin Wilks said: “No employer wants to see a worker injured and this enforceable undertaking with WorkSafe will help industry to focus on managing the risks of machinery and keeping workers safe.”

Full enforceable undertaking with the reasons for our decision

We will continue to monitor compliance of this enforceable undertaking.

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