Fertiliser company fined after worker loses finger
Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-operative Limited has been fined $33,000 and ordered to pay reparation of $5,000 after an employee’s hand was pulled into a machine in its Napier packing plant.
In November 2013, Ravensdown storeperson Jackson Hawea, had the little finger on his left hand amputated to the first knuckle after it got caught in a ‘tripper’ machine.
Mr Hawea was attempting to fix a fault in the machine by applying tension to a wire cable in the tripper room. The machine was in operation at the time and the cable tightened itself as he touched it. The wire caught his hand and as he tried to pull it out the tip of his left little finger was sliced off.
A WorkSafe New Zealand investigation found that the machine was not adequately guarded to prevent workers accessing dangerous moving parts in the tripper room.
Ravensdown was convicted at the Napier District Court under Section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employees.
WorkSafe New Zealand’s Chief Inspector Keith Stewart says the loss of Mr Hawea’s finger was completely avoidable.
“Ravensdown is a major New Zealand company. Its health and safety systems should have identified this hazard and proper guarding should have been put in place to minimise the risk.
“Proper guarding of the dangerous moving parts of machines is basic stuff. Ravensdown should have ensured that guarding in the tripper room was up to scratch and in line with the Safety of Machinery Standards,” says Keith Stewart.