Take time to plan hazardous work
Kernohan Engineering Ltd has been fined $37,000 and ordered to pay reparation of $20,000 after a worker had his hand crushed by a 1.8 tonne housing block.
The housing block, which is a rectangular block of steel used to help support large cylindrical rollers, toppled forward from a forklift as it was being repositioned during planned maintenance at a fibreboard factory near Rangiora in December 2013.
Michael Livingstone instinctively tried to stop the block falling by putting his right hand on its top corner. His hand became trapped between the block and the heel of the forklift fork. He suffered crush injuries and multiple fractures that have left him with restricted mobility and a weak grip.
Kernohan Engineering was sentenced in the Christchurch District Court yesterday under the Health and Safety in Employment Act for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees and contractors.
WorkSafe New Zealand’s Chief Investigator Keith Stewart says moving the 1.8 tonne housing block was clearly hazardous work and a job safety analysis should have been done beforehand.
“A proper job safety analysis would have identified the risks and the best way to minimise those risks before anyone was in harm’s way. It would have identified the need to stabilise the housing block and ensured the proper equipment was used.
“In this case a crane should have been used to support and stabilise the housing block from above to prevent it toppling.
“This case is a reminder of the importance of taking the time to do proper analysis and planning before undertaking such dangerous work,” says Keith.