Easton Agriculture Limited

Court Summary - at a glance

Date of offence:
11 August 2016
 
Plea:
Guilty
 
Decision:
Convicted
 
Final decision date:
 
Fine imposed:
No fine was imposed.

Safety lessons learned:
  1. Ensure that machinery is adequately guarded to prevent access to the dangerous working parts;
    • For example, a fixed enclosure guard should have been installed, which had safe gaps allowing materials to pass through where necessary;
    • Alternatively, a distance barrier fixed guard should have been installed with adequate height and safety distance and safety trip devices, to pretend access to the nip point;
  2. Ensure there are standard operating procedures for the safe operation of machinery
    • For example, there should have been a standard operating procedure for the potato picking machine which identified the hazards

Defendant name:
Easton Agriculture Limited
 
Industry:
Agriculture
 
Date of offence:
11 August 2016
 
Facts in brief:
The Defendant operates a potato and onion farm in Shannon.

The victim had been employed by the Defendant for over 30 years. His role included driving and operating the trucks, tractors, and other machinery.

On the afternoon of 11 August 2016, the victim was operating a potato harvesting machine, used to pick up potatoes and move them into a windrow. The machine was tractor-towed and powered. A conveyor moved the crop to the rear, where two counter-rotating rollers drew in the stems of the potatoes and removed them. The potatoes were then moved into a windrow to the side via a second conveyor.

Later that evening, a worker noticed that the victim had not returned. They then noticed that the harvesting machine was not moving in the paddock. The victim was found with both of his arms up to his neck entrapped in the back of the machine in a nip point between counter-rotating rollers.

The cause of death was neck and chest compression as a result of becoming entrapped in the machine.
 
Offence section:
Sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and 2(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
 
Date charged:

Court:
Palmerston North - District Court
 
Plea:
Guilty
 
Final decision date:
 
Decision:
Convicted
 
Fine imposed:
No fine was imposed.
 
Maximum fine available:
$1,500,000
 
Reparation:
$85,000