The importance of risk assessments and implementing appropriate controls - including training and monitoring workers to ensure they’re working safely, was a dominant message in the sentencing of Avon Industries Limited on health and safety charges.
The Whangarei District Court released their sentencing decision on Wednesday, after Avon Industries appeared in court for sentencing in February.
Avon Industries is a production engineering firm who carry out work that includes hot dip galvanising at temperatures over 450C.
In October 2016 a team of workers were re-galvanising chain when the bespoke machine they were using jammed. A worker climbed onto the frame of the machine, which was situated above a bath of molten zinc, to shake the chain free.
Worksafe has 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 Worksafe's investigation into the incident, they 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 Worksafe has 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.
The tortilla oven that crushed and burned a worker’s hand and arm in November 2016 had multiple sources of risk.
The worker was cooking tortillas in a commercial tortilla press and oven when a tortilla became stuck. As he had been taught, the worker removed guarding from the machine and reached in to dislodge the stuck tortilla with a spatula. After the spatula got stuck in the conveyer slats, the worker put on heat resistant gloves and reached in to get the tortilla and spatula out. His glove became caught and his right hand and arm were drawn into the oven.
Miller Foods Limited, trading as Remarkable Tortillas, was sentenced in the Queenstown District Court today following an incident that left a worker’s arm trapped in an oven that was aflame.
New Zealand workplaces have been required to adequately guard machinery since the Machinery Act 1950 came into force. Almost 70 years later, workplaces still aren’t getting it right, with fatalities, amputations and injuries from machinery still a reality for too many New Zealand workers.
The message is prompted by the results of two sentencings in Invercargill District Court released this week, both relating to inadequate machine guarding. Niagara Sawmilling Company Limited appeared in court on 13 February and Marshall Industries Limited appeared on 27 February.
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