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.
WorkSafe is warning businesses not to play down notifiable events in their workplaces.
Trade Depot Ltd appeared in Auckland District Court in December following an incident where more than 200kg of plasterboard fell on a worker in Takanini. The Court has since released its sentencing decision on the matter.
The May 2016 incident left the worker with a skull fracture and head injuries requiring surgery and four days hospitalisation. The company failed to notify WorkSafe of the incident at the time, and then tried to downplay its severity when it did finally notify WorkSafe.
When asked for a description of the injury, Trade Depot noted “probable concussion from impact” with no reference to extensive bleeding, fractures, surgery and hospitalisation.
There are no second chances with heavy machinery says WorkSafe after the sentencing of Easton Agriculture Limited today in Palmerston North District Court.
The sentencing follows the death of a worker in August 2016 after he became trapped in a potato harvester on a farm in Shannon. The worker had been employed by the defendant for more than 30 years and was familiar with the machine he was operating.
WorkSafe’s investigation found that the machine had no guarding over a nip point between exposed rollers on the machine, that Easton Agriculture had no lone worker policy in place and did not have a standard operating procedure for the safe operation of the machine. Guarding could have saved the worker’s life.
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Safety gear is no good when it is sitting in your vehicle – and it needs to be used properly.
That is the lesson following the sentencing of Stumpmaster Limited today in the North Shore District Court. Stumpmaster was cutting down a palm tree from a property when a woman walked into the path of the falling tree. The victim suffered fractures and a laceration which required six days hospitalisation.
Two similar accidents involving the same plant at AFFCO’s Rangiuru meat processing plant two years apart are a prime example of a company not learning from its mistakes.
Today in the Tauranga District Court, AFFCO New Zealand Limited was sentenced over an incident in which a worker was caught by a spreader hook and dragged along the mutton chain in January 2016 – an incident that WorkSafe’s Acting Deputy General Manager Investigations and Specialist Services Simon Humphries describes as “concerningly similar” to one two years earlier when a worker was impaled through the head by a spreader hook
WorkSafe is warning the construction industry that it is unacceptable for workers to continue being harmed from the well-known risk of working at height.
Lindsay Whyte Painters and Decorators Ltd was sentenced today in the Oamaru District Court after a worker fell 2.8 metres, from a roof with no edge protection, through a glass table onto concrete in April 2016. Two workers were on the roof and exposed to the risk of fall.
WorkSafe’s investigation found that the business had failed to identify the risk of a fall, failed to put any fall protection in place and did not ensure workers were trained and instructed in working at height.
WorkSafe is reminding businesses and property owners that a negligent approach to removing asbestos does not only put you at risk, but also those around you.
The message comes after Topham Holding Limited, a small farming business on the outskirts of Timaru, was sentenced today in the Timaru District Court.
During the demolition of an old chicken shed in 2016, Topham Holding’s sole Director removed sheeting which contained asbestos, without first engaging a competent person to ensure the asbestos was removed. This was despite advice from WorkSafe to Topham Holding a year earlier that there would need to be close management of any asbestos removal.
We have accepted an Enforceable Undertaking from Metropolitan Waste (Waikato) Limited, following the injury of a worker using a tin can baler in April 2016.
Following our investigation into the incident, we alleged that Metropolitan Waste 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.
This is the fifth enforceable undertaking we have 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 New Zealand has accepted an Enforceable Undertaking from Directionz Limited, a company that installs and maintains road signs and services, following an incident with an angle grinder in May 2016 that lead to a worker losing their eye.
The worker was cutting bolts off a post on a bridge using a portable angle grinder. The blade being used disintegrated and sent fragments into the workers face, penetrating their safety glasses, and resulting in cuts to their cheek, eye region and forehead. The workers left eye was removed as a result of incident.
Following its investigation into the incident, WorkSafe alleged that Directionz 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.
WorkSafe New Zealand has accepted an enforceable undertaking from Zespri International Limited, following a fatal quad bike incident on a Tauranga orchard in May 2016.
Following its investigation into the incident, WorkSafe alleged that Zespri 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.
Three other parties have also been charged in connection with this incident.
This is the fourth enforceable undertaking accepted by WorkSafe 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. This case is one of the first multi-party prosecutions undertaken by WorkSafe.
WorkSafe says businesses must learn from their health and safety mistakes and ensure changes are effective and address the risks in the workplace.
The warning comes after The Tasman Tanning Company was sentenced today in the Wanganui District Court just five years after they were fined for similar health and safety breaches.
The sentencing follows an incident in April 2016 where a forklift driver was exposed to hydrogen sulphide gas, a well-known hazard in the tanning industry. The worker was shifting containers when he was overcome by the gas. The worker lost consciousness twice, resulting in a concussion, facial gashes and a nose injury.
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