A Gore farm machinery company’s lack of effective repairs to a tractor has resulted in a substantial fine and reparations to an injured farm worker.
“Vehicle service industries must ensure diligent workmanship, systems and practices in the work that they do to prevent injuries to users,” says WorkSafe Head of Specialist Interventions, Simon Humphries.
His comments follow the sentencing today in the Gore District Court of farm machinery business Agricentre South Limited after brakes on a tractor serviced and supplied by the business failed and ran over a worker.
Toilet paper manufacturer Cottonsoft Ltd received a sentencing decision in the Manukau District Court yesterday after a worker was hurt on inadequately guarded machinery.
The sentencing followed a January 2017 incident where the worker sustained crush injuries, degloving and lacerations after his arms were caught in rollers. He also sustained rib fractures in the incident and was left with long-term side effects requiring further surgery.
WorkSafe’s investigation into the incident found that the guarding on the machinery departed significantly from current industry standards and that while the risks had been identified during previous risk assessments, no long-term or interim solutions had been put in place.
Two similar health and safety failings within three months have cost Rotorua timber company Claymark Limited over $680,000 in fines, reparations and costs.
WorkSafe says that one serious injury on a company’s watch is bad enough, but that a second in close succession shows an unacceptable approach to worker safety.
Claymark was sentenced in the Rotorua District Court yesterday after two of its workers sustained serious injuries while operating machinery on two separate occasions.
In the past two years, 10 people working in the transport, postal and warehousing sector have died while at work. Three of these deaths occurred in June 2017 and one had its sequel in the Hamilton District Court on Monday.
Transport company Altranz (2008) Ltd was sentenced after an incident that left an 18 year old worker fatally injured.
In June 2017, the worker was assisting in the unloading of shipping containers from a truck when he was crushed by the swinglift, a machine designed for lifting containers on and off the truck.
Mistakes must be learnt from says WorkSafe after a freight company was sentenced in the Auckland District Court last week.
PBT Transport Limited was fined $250,000 following an incident in September 2016 where a worker sustained back injuries, after the freight cage he was working in fell three metres from forklift tines. Two similar incidents had occurred at other PBT Transport sites and WorkSafe says PBT Transport should have used these incidents to significantly improve their processes.
WorkSafe’s investigation into the incident found that the freight cage did not comply with industry standards and had not been attached to the forklift correctly. It also found that while PBT Transport had safety systems documented, they were not being implemented in the day to day running of the business and workers were not being appropriately communicated with.
WorkSafe New Zealand has accepted an enforceable undertaking from Trojan Holdings Limited, following an incident at the Cromwell Transfer Station in June 2017 where a worker fell into the waste hopper and sustained serious injuries.
The worker, employed by Trojan Holdings, was assisting a truck driver to empty a skip bin. The worker was about to open the skip bin doors at the back of the truck when the truck began reversing and the worker fell more than three metres into the hopper below him.
The incident left the worker with a traumatic brain injury and a leg fracture.
If your workers are operating at height, you must make sure they’re able to work safely according to WorkSafe in the wake of a sentencing decision released by the Hamilton District Court today.
Electrix Limited was sentenced after a worker harnessed to the top of a 30-metre high temporary transmission tower was injured in August 2016 when it fell to the ground leaving him with multiple injuries.
The temporary tower was installed as part of the Waikato Expressway development.
WorkSafe’s investigation found that the tower was not safely secured for the work being undertaken on it. Electrix was found to have failed to: develop and implement a safe system of work, ensure the tower was erected in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and, ensure the competency of its workers on the towers.
Identifying a workplace risk, but not following up to ensure it is controlled is bad health and safety business practice according to WorkSafe.
The comment follows the sentencing of Agility Building Solutions Limited in the Christchurch District Court yesterday after a painter was injured in the construction company's own workplace. WorkSafe says the case is a clear example of workplaces not ensuring safety gear is actually safe for use.
The injured painter, brought in as a contractor to complete some work at Agility’s business premises, was given incorrectly installed mobile scaffolding to work from. On the first day of the job, the painter fell two metres from the scaffolding to the concrete floor below landing head first and sustaining multiple fractures to his skull, face and ribs. He suffered major brain trauma as a result.
While Agility had identified a fall from the platform as a risk and noted that it needed to be correctly installed, they had no systems in place to ensure that a pre-work check took place to make sure the safety gear was installed correctly and fit for purpose.
The death of a retired man who fell from a mobility scooter on a damaged piece of footpath has resulted in building development company YSB Group Limited being fined $100,000 by the Manukau District Court. The decision was released today.
The footpath had been damaged by heavy vehicles during the development of a Papatoetoe housing site. When the victim was driving his mobility scooter in March last year, the scooter tipped on the uneven terrain. He then fell to the ground and was fatally injured.
WorkSafe says the circumstances are a reminder that workplaces have a responsibility for others interacting with their worksite, as well as those completing work on it.
New Zealand has clearly defined standards for how machinery should be guarded, and WorkSafe says they’re still not being met by too many companies.
“Too many workers are being seriously injured as a result of substandard guarding,” says WorkSafe’s Head of Specialist Interventions Simon Humphries.
Locker Group (NZ) Ltd appeared in Manukau district court yesterday on health and safety charges after a worker was badly injured by an inadequately guarded machine. Locker Group manufactures and sells metal and mesh products for the construction industry.
The worker was injured in April 2016 when his hands were crushed by a piece of machinery that folds sheet metal. He had to undergo significant medical work including finger amputations. Mr Humphries said the injuries had irrevocably changed the worker’s life.
Unqualified and unsafe asbestos removal landed Richard John Knight in the Christchurch District Court last week for sentencing. Mr Knight was unlicensed for an asbestos demolition job carried out on a Riccarton building in February 2017.
The sentencing is the first of its kind under new asbestos regulations and relates to strict new rules around licensing.
While the worker did have experience in the construction industry and in demolition, he was not licensed to manage the removal of asbestos. Nor had he obtained the required certification for the work he completed.
“Mr Knight required a Class A removal license for the job – but instead of ensuring a competent person was engaged, decided to flout the law” said WorkSafe’s Head of Specialist Interventions, Simon Humphries.
Worksafe NZ has accepted an enforceable undertaking from engineering and infrastructure company Opus International Consultants Limited (trading as ‘WSP Opus’).
The enforceable undertaking was granted following an incident in February 2017, when scaffolding collapsed underneath Auckland’s Panmure Bridge and six workers fell into the water below them. Although one worker was trapped on the scaffolding, all escaped the scene without serious injury.
Tractors are an integral part of farm businesses, but they are also a key contributor to our agricultural industry’s unacceptable number of farm deaths. In the last six years, 30 New Zealanders have died while using them.
WorkSafe is warning farmers that they are legally required to have an effective way of identifying and managing the risks involved in their work on farms. This includes the risks involved in the use of vehicles.
The message follows the sentencing of Scott Alexander McRae in the North Shore District Court last week, after a worker on his Wellsford farm was killed in a tractor incident in December 2016.
The worker was driving a tractor and towing a trailer carrying two bales of bailage when he lost traction on a sloped piece of land. The tractor and trailer jackknifed, resulting in the tractor rolling and fatally injuring the driver.
WorkSafe’s investigation found systemic failures by McRae to do a risk assessment of the entire farm and the work tasks taking place on it. It also found that he had failed to identify the need for a maintained and effective roll over protection on the tractor, after it was found to be severely corroded. This was contrary to guidance on roll over protective structures on tractors.
In the last three months, four manufacturing companies have been sentenced under the Health and Safety at Work Act on charges for inadequately guarding machinery. So far this year, 11 manufacturing companies have been sentenced for machine guarding failures.
The latest was All Flex Packaging Limited, a company that provides packaging, film and print services to the food industry. They were sentenced in the Manukau District Court this month following an incident in January 2017. A worker was operating machinery at their Wiri factory, when his right hand was pulled into an exposed nip point between two rollers. The worker’s hand was crushed and he suffered both degloving injuries and fractures to his hand.
WorkSafe found inadequate machine guarding, no risk assessment by a competent person, no Safe Operating Procedure for the machine and inadequate training for the machine operators in the use of the machine.
Worksafe NZ is reminding businesses to take their health and safety systems with them when they move or expand their operations and to treat them as a priority during the move.
The prompt follows the sentencing of Cardinal Logistics Limited after they appeared in the Christchurch District Court on Friday, following an incident that left a worker with life-changing injuries.
Cardinal Logistics provide warehousing and distribution services for importers and exporters. In September 2016, a worker was walking through the new warehouse premises when a forklift rounded a corner and crushed his body against racking. The worker sustained multiple fractures that broke his leg and arm, resulting in a 35-day stay in hospital. The injuries are ongoing, with the victim recently having his leg amputated and continuing to have ongoing medical intervention for his arm.
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