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Winstone Pulp fined $55,500 for failing to keep worker safe
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Winstone Pulp fined $55,500 for failing to keep worker safe

13 August 2012

Winstone Pulp International (Winstone) of Tangiwai has been fined for breaching health and safety legislation, leaving a worker with a broken collarbone and cracked rib. 

The company was ordered to pay a fine of $55,500 and reparation to the victim of $10,000 for the injury in which a worker was crushed between heavy pallets of wood on 1 November last year.

The Ohakune District Court heard that at the time of the accident the worker was on the out-feed deck and could not hear the machine’s siren to warn of an approaching pallet and was crushed between a moving pallet and a stationary one. 

“Winstone has been remiss in a number of ways when it comes to the safety of its employees,” says central region health and safety manager for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Ona De Rooy.

“There should have been adequate staffing to operate the stacker machine and the machine should have had a ‘dead man’ switch to prevent the stacker from automatically advancing the pallets. The victim should also have been trained to work on the machine if that was what he was required to do,” she says.

“This is an unacceptable example of an employer failing to take the steps required to keep their workers safe on the job. All too often employees are seriously injured at work, when it is their fundamental right to go home safely at the end of their working day.

“We encourage all employers to familiarise themselves with the safety information available on the MBIE’s website,” Ms De Rooy says.

 

Notes to Editor

  • Winstone Pulp International appeared in court on 10 August 2012 and was charged with one offence under Section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, which states:
    • Every employer shall take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees while at work; and in particular shall take all practicable steps to—
      1. provide and maintain for employees a safe working environment; and
      2. provide and maintain for employees while they are at work facilities for their safety and health; and
      3. ensure that plant used by any employee at work is so arranged, designed, made, and maintained that it is safe for the employee to use; and
      4. ensure that while at work employees are not exposed to hazards arising out of the arrangement, disposal, manipulation, organisation, processing, storage, transport, working, or use of things—
        1. in their place of work; or
        2. near their place of work and under the employer's control; and
      5. develop procedures for dealing with emergencies that may arise while employees are at work.
  • The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 is available online.

 

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