Workplace injury highlights importance of machine guarding
An avoidable injury to a worker has cost forestry and timber processing company Pan Pac Forest Products Limited a fine of $39,000.00 and reparations of$7,500.00
The Napier District Court heard that in March last year the employee’s ankle was crushed while clearing jammed laths. His colleague, unaware that the injured man was working close by, turned on machinery which crushed his ankle.
Investigations by the Department of Labour (now the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) found that Pan Pac failed to adequately isolate the hazards associated with the machinery.
“This accident could have been prevented by installing a robust machinery isolation and lockout system, including a high gate to prevent access to the hazard area,” says the Department of Labour’s (now the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) Central General Manager Ona De Rooy.
The Department’s three-year Safe Use of Machinery Project launched in 2010 is focusing on reducing injury and harm caused by poorly guarded machinery.
“There is no excuse for preventable injuries happening at work. Poorly guarded machinery and the lack of associated safety procedures remains a significant cause of death and injury in workplaces,” Ms De Rooy says.
“We encourage all employers to familiarise themselves with the machine guarding information available on the Department’s website. If they have any concerns at all about safety in their workplace, they should contact the Department to seek advice,” she says.
Notes to Editor
- Pan Pac Forest Products Limited was charged with one offence under Section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.
- Section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 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—
(a) provide and maintain for employees a safe working environment; and
(b) provide and maintain for employees while they are at work facilities for their safety and health; and
(c) 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
(d) 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—
(i) in their place of work; or
(ii) near their place of work and under the employer's control; and
(e) develop procedures for dealing with emergencies that may arise while employees are at work.
- Read the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 online.
- The Department’s Safe Use Of Machinery Project is part of the Manufacturing Sector Action Plan – developed in association with the Government and sector stakeholders - as part of the National Action Agenda. It is a three year national initiative that focuses on lifting the standard of machine guarding in New Zealand. Health and Safety Inspectors are focusing on raising awareness amongst employers and employees of the importance of machine guarding and checking that effective procedures and systems are in place to ensure the safe use of machinery in the workplace.
- The Department has developed a series of factsheets to help businesses ensure their machinery is adequately guarded, and their employees are safe.