Toilet paper manufacturer Cottonsoft Ltd received a sentencing decision in the Manukau District Court today 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.
WorkSafe says New Zealand has rigorous standards for the guarding of machinery to prevent injuries just like this and Head of Specialist Interventions, Simon Humphries says there is simply no excuse for this ‘terrible record’ around machinery guarding.
“This worker was needlessly injured by a risk that had been identified – but not mitigated effectively.”
“There is so much information and guidance available to companies and it must be implemented. Now is the time to stop and assess your machinery and stop an accident before it occurs. Do this before you find yourself with an injured worker and under the scrutiny of an investigation.”
WorkSafe’s Best Practice Guidelines for Safe Use of Machinery can be accessed here: https://worksafe.govt.nz/topic-and-industry/manufacturing/safe-use-of-machinery/
- A fine of $315,000 was imposed.
- Reparations of $45,000 were ordered.
- Cottonsoft Ltd was charged under sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and (2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
o Being a PCBU, failed to ensure so far as was reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers, who worked for the PCBU, while the workers were at work in the business and that failure exposed the worker to a risk of serious injury.
- The maximum penalty is a fine not exceeding $1,500,000.