Machine guarding failures in the meat processing industry are continuing to cause life-changing injuries to workers.
Alliance Group Limited appeared in the Timaru District Court on Wednesday, after an incident where an inexperienced worker’s hand was amputated in a piece of machinery in March 2017.
The worker had been employed at the plant for only five days and was left unsupervised on a task. Due to the worker’s lack of familiarity with the job, he opened a section of the machinery used for dehydrating blood into a powder and placed his right hand inside. His hand came in contact with a rotating screw and was amputated.
Our investigation found that Alliance Group had failed to ensure the health and safety of its workers and that it was reasonably practicable for them to have undertaken an adequate risk assessment of the machine and to have ensured it was adequately guarded.
Rotorua based logging operator Cropp Logging was sentenced in the Tauranga District Court today after an incident where a worker was struck by a tumbling log.
The worker was on his first day on a forestry site in Rangiuru working as head breaker-out when the incident occurred in March 2017. The site was using a cabling system to move logs uphill, when a hooked-on log became dislodged and began rolling down a gully. The log struck the worker resulting in significant injuries and hospitalisation.
The operation of a digger above the worker was found to have increased the risk of the log becoming dislodged and tumbling downhill.
A worker had to have his eye removed after an incident involving a corrosive cleaning product at a Tauranga mussel processing plant.
North Island Mussels Limited was sentenced in the Tauranga District Court today following the January 2017 incident which left their worker with life changing injuries.
The worker was decanting a cleaning product when a piece of tubing flicked him in the eye. The corrosive product and the impact of the tubing left him with damage so significant that his eye had to be removed. The resulting scarring also meant the victim could not be fitted with a prosthetic eye.
Worksafe has accepted an enforceable undertaking from glass supply and glazing company Woods Glass (New Zealand) Limited, following an incident in January 2017 when a worker's leg was crushed in machinery.
The worker was injured when the glass cutting machine he was working with jammed.
The worker climbed onto the machine to see what had happened and as the jam was cleared the machine inadvertently began operating again, crushing the worker's leg.
He suffered a compound dislocation of his left ankle that required two weeks hospitalisation and more than two months off work.
Following their investigation into the incident, WSNZ found that Woods Glass had failed its employee under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, including a lack of safe procedures and guarding involving the piece of machinery.
WorkSafe accepts enforceable undertakings from Plunket Electrical Oamaru and McConnell Dowell Constructors
Worksafe has accepted enforceable undertakings from Plunket Electrical Oamaru Limited and McConnell Dowell Constructors Limited.
The enforceable undertakings were granted following an incident at Peaks Pump Station in North Otago in September 2016.
Three workers employed by Plunket Electrical Oamaru were installing a 1400kg switchboard when the switchboard tipped forward and struck one of the workers in the abdomen. The worker would have been crushed and trapped by the full weight of the switchboard had it not landed on a steel stand nearby. The worker was left with crush injuries to his abdomen including a spleen laceration.
McConnell Dowell Constructors were project managing the site while Plunket Electrical Oamaru was completing the installation. Both companies had obligations to the health and safety of workers under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and our investigation found their failures contributed to the unnecessary injury of the worker.
We have accepted enforceable undertakings from air conditioning and refrigeration company Airtech Limited, and vegetable packaging and marketing company NZ Hot House Limited, following an incident in July 2016 where workers were unnecessarily exposed to carbon monoxide.
Two Airtech workers were working to clean an evaporator unit in a chiller; they were using an LPG forklift operated by an NZ Hot House worker. After two hours working on the unit, an Airtech worker began to feel unwell and stopped working. The other Airtech worker and the forklift operator continued working, before they both fainted as a result of carbon monoxide exposure.
This is the second time two companies charged for the same incident under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 have each successfully been granted enforceable undertakings.
We found that Airtech had not identified or mitigated the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in the chiller from the use of an LPG-powered forklift. NZ Hot House had not developed and implemented a safe system of work for use of LPG forklifts, or developed and authorised an adequate contractor management system.
Worksafe has 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 their investigation into the incident, WSNZ 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.
A young boy had a lucky escape after he fell from a quad bike and was run over by the equipment being towed behind it. WorkSafe says it is a reminder for farmers and families to ensure they are keeping kids off adult sized quad bikes, as riders or passengers.
Small farming company Greystone Holdings Limited was sentenced today in Wellington District Court after an incident that occurred in July 2016, when a six year old was visiting the 60 acre farm owned by his grandparents during school holidays.
The victim was riding on the back of a quad doing tasks on the farm, when he fell from the quad and was run over by equipment being towed behind it. The quad was being driven by the boy’s uncle who was employed on the property. The victim was taken to hospital by helicopter and had suffered a fracture to his left leg that required multiple surgeries.
A major freight distribution and logistics company appeared in Auckland District Court today after an incident involving a forklift that left a man fatally injured.
Toll Networks (NZ) Limited was sentenced after a worker was crushed to death by falling pallets that were being moved from a train wagon by forklift in September 2016. The victim was standing beside the forklift and as the driver reversed the pallets it was carrying fell and struck the worker who died at the scene.
Our investigation found that Toll had not identified the risk of a pedestrian being hit by freight falling from forklift tines and that its pedestrian safety system relied on administrative controls that were ambiguous and contradictory.
Worksafe NZ has accepted an enforceable undertaking from Fletcher Construction Company Limited, following an incident in May 2016 where a worker was injured by a temporary wall which collapsed following a high-rain event.
The worker was working in a two metre deep hole where temporary concrete blocks were being used as a retaining wall. Water was being pumped out of the hole following heavy rainfall. The worker was attaching plywood to the blocks to stop aggregate being washed under the temporary concrete block wall when the concrete blocks started to shift. He was unable to get far enough away before he was caught under the falling blocks and plywood.
The victim sustained multiple fractures to his right lower leg. The incident required him to take eight months off work as a result of his injuries.
Almost 50 years after New Zealand businesses working in and around construction were first made aware of the risks of asbestos, removal of the cancer causing material is still not being managed effectively.
“Asbestos is New Zealand’s number one killer in the workplace with around 170 people dying every year from asbestos-related diseases,” says WorkSafe Deputy General Manager, Investigations and Specialist Services, Simon Humphries.
Those working in construction need to be more diligent when it comes to managing asbestos removal because it is not just yourself at risk.
“Asbestos fibres can travel thousands of kilometres from a site where removal work is undertaken under certain weather conditions. Negligence is unacceptable and there is no excuse for putting the lives of others in and around your workplace at risk.”
These comments follow the sentencing of John Carstairs Robertson in New Plymouth District Court today on health and safety charges relating to unsafe removal of asbestos
Fatigue from long hours of work must not compromise worker safety.
“Getting the job done is important, but not if the hours required to do it put workers at risk of injury or death,” says WorkSafe Deputy General Manager, Investigations and Specialist Services, Simon Humphries.
His comments follow the sentencing of agricultural contractor Micheal Vining Contracting Limited in Huntly District Court.
In October 2016, a worker for the company had been assisting with harvesting operations on a farm in Pukekawa. He logged a 16.75 hour day before departing the farm, taking a tractor home in preparation for the next day’s work. At 2.45am he crashed the tractor and died as a result of injuries sustained during the accident.
Critical risks in workplaces must not only be identified, but also managed effectively.
Mining company Oceana Gold has been sentenced, after the death of a worker in July 2016. They appeared in Tauranga District Court for sentencing in March and a decision was released yesterday.
The worker had been driving an earthmoving machine underground when it fell 15 metres off a vertical edge.
Our investigation found that Oceana Gold had failed to develop and implement a safe system of work for the creation of 1.5 metre high bunds above vertical slopes.
Oceana Gold had identified the risk and the solution of bunds to reduce the risk of a vehicle falling into a void. However, they had not effectively mitigated the risks involved in implementing that solution
Big construction projects require co-operation between parties in order to keep people safe, and we're reminding contracting firms that New Zealand’s health and safety laws actually require it.
“Building sites can involve hundreds of people coming and going over the course of a build. Co-operating with other parties, and knowing what safety systems are in place is key to keeping workers safe from harm,” says WorkSafe Deputy General Manager, Investigations and Specialist Services, Simon Humphries.
Premier Project Management Limited was sentenced in the Auckland District Court yesterday after an incident on an Auckland building site they were managing, where a lack of communication between companies led to a worker being severely injured.
What are YOUR critical risks?
Every business owner needs to understand the risk profile of their company. You need to know which hazards warrant the most attention and effort. This will vary from one organisation to the next, even within the same industry. Your operations, equipment, people and environments are unique to your business.
Can you confidently state the top five or ten critical risks for your organisation? If not, you've got work to do...
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