Employee death leads to $367,500 fine

WorkSafe is urging all employers to make sure machinery is made safe and cannot injure a worker

Employee death leads to $367,500 fine

Homegrown Juice Co Limited has been sentenced and fined $367,500 in Hastings District Court after a worker was fatally injured in June 2017.

The worker was cleaning a bottle filling machine when her arm was drawn into the rotating equipment. It continued to rotate and the worker died at the scene.

Consequently, WorkSafe is urging all employers to make sure machinery their workers are using is made safe and cannot injure a worker.

The WorkSafe investigation found the machine was not interlocked - an interlock would have prevented it from starting while guarding was open.

Moreover, the investigation found the machine had been imported from China and had not been assessed by a New Zealand engineer. The machine was not certified or compliant with New Zealand standards.

READ MORE: This is the easiest way to make staff feel safe

WorkSafe Chief Inspector Hayden Mander said interlocks are an essential protection for workers.

“They are the ‘fail safe’ for machinery which has entanglement potential and installing one in this case could have prevented a tragic death,” said Mander.

“If a risk is identified in a business’ operations, failing to properly manage that risk is simply unacceptable. It’s unlawful, and just as importantly, failing to manage known risks exposes workers to injury or death.”

Mander added that health and safety of workers, not production, should be a company’s first priority.

“Every business that uses machinery should consider the tragic outcome of Homegrown’s failings and commit to making sure their workers will be able to go home to their families and friends healthy and safe at the end of every working day.”

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