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Machine guards prevent injuries

1 December 2015

An unguarded firewood processing machine has cost Canterbury man Murray Crosland a total of $62,525 after he was fined $42,525 and ordered to pay $20,000 reparation to an injured employee.

The man’s right thumb was amputated by a chainsaw after his arm got caught in a Binderberger machine for cutting up firewood. The worker was pushing the butt end of a log past the machine’s log clamp and chainsaw when it activated and trapped his lower right arm. As he tried to pull free and reach the emergency stop, the machine’s chainsaw cut off his thumb and lacerated the tip of his index finger.

A WorkSafe New Zealand investigation found that at the time of the incident the machine’s guards were left open and parts of the guards were also missing.

Murray Crosland plead guilty to charges under sections 18 and 50(1)(a) and sections 25(3) and 50 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act. A sentencing hearing was held in the Christchurch District Court in late November with the judge’s reserved decision released today.

WorkSafe’s Programme Manager for Manufacturing, Marcus Nalter says proper machine guarding is an absolute must when using dangerous gear such as a firewood processing machine.

“The state of the Binderberger machine was an obvious hazard and this should have been well known as in 2009 an employee had their finger crushed by a log because a guard had been removed.

“Proper machine guards can prevent terrible accidents and injures – plain and simple,” says Marcus Nalter.

NOTE: Guidance is available on the WorkSafe website to help employers and owners make their machines safe.

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