WorkSafe accepts enforceable undertaking from Earthcare Environmental Limited

We have accepted an enforceable undertaking from Earthcare Environmental Limited, following an incident in July 2016 where a worker suffered hand injuries including the amputation of two fingers.

The worker was operating a cardboard baler which bundles waste card into bales that are held together with wire. The worker noticed that a wire wasn’t picked up by the machine and tried to flick it back into place. His gloved hand became entangled in a wire twister. The worker lost his ring finger and little finger and sustained de-gloving to the back of his right hand.

Following our investigation into the incident, we found that Earthcare Environmental had failed under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, the health and safety of a worker who works for Earthcare Environmental.

This is the ninth 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.

WorkSafe Deputy General Manager, Investigations and Specialist Services Simon Humphries said the decision to accept the enforceable undertaking was appropriate given the circumstances. 

“Earthcare Environmental has taken the learnings from what was a serious worker injury and proposed appropriate, long-term, sustainable health and safety improvements that will benefit not just their workplace, but others in the recycling industry and the local community.

“WorkSafe was particularly interested in the development of a publicly available machinery risk management course for industry and the benefit of this course for current and future workers”.

The victim was not opposed to the enforceable undertaking as a suitable enforcement outcome to the incident.

Under the enforceable undertaking, Earthcare Environmental Limited committed to initiatives including:

  • To provide amends to the victim.
  • To provide further training to workers in the risk assessment of machinery.
  • Co-fund the development of a new machinery risk management course for industry.
  • Fund course attendance for 15 workers from the wider waste industry.
  • Promote the industry benefits of the course to the waste industry via WasteMinz Revolve magazine, the EMA Business Plus magazine, and other communication channels.
  • Make a donation to AT Hand Therapy in Greytown.

Earthcare Environmental’s Barrister Brett Harris said:

“No employer wants to see a worker injured and by accepting this enforceable undertaking, WorkSafe has helped Earthcare to focus on real world safety improvements that should pay safety dividends in the future.”

Full enforceable undertaking and reasons for decision

We will continue to monitor compliance of this enforceable undertaking.

Media contact details

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Phone: 021 823 007 or

Email: media@worksafe.govt.nz