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Waste Management New Zealand Ltd has been fined $450,000 after removing machine guarding.
The company was found guilty of not following health and safety practices at a trial in August of this year at Hamilton’s District Court and sentenced earlier this month.
During November of 2017, a worker had operated a tyre shredder at the company’s Kerepehi site where debris obstructed the conveyor belt to the shredder, the worker then attempted to remove it while the machine was running leading to his arm becoming trapped.
The worker was not able to activate the emergency stop button; however, he eventually managed to free his arm. Divulging injures, and a broken forearm was the result.
WorkSafe investigated and found guarding was missing from the conveyor belt which fed the tyres into the machine for shredding. The machine was still in use regardless of the machine guarding being removed.
WorkSafe’s Area Manager Danielle Henry said it was unacceptable, that the machine was being used without the special machine guarding that would of prevent this from happening.
“There was an emergency stop button, but its location meant it couldn’t be reached if a worker became trapped in the machine, which is what happened in this incident.”
“As well as this at the time of the incident, the victim was operating the machine alone when there should have been adequate supervision to assist in the case of an emergency.”
“Businesses need to quit removing the very guarding that is in place to keep people safe. Waste Management NZ Limited should not have allowed this machine to be used without guarding or safe processes in place. Its failure to implement these simple safety measures has left a worker with severe injuries.”
Waste Management NZ was fined a total of $400,000 — the other charge was an extra $50,000 in reparation to the victim.