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Source: Worksafe New Zealand

An Auckland based steel company’s failure to guard machinery resulted in a worker having his left leg amputated.

In a decision released by Waitakere District Court this week, structural steel fabricating company D & H Steel Construction Limited was fined $220,000. The sentencing followed an August 2018 incident where a worker was operating a machine used to drill, saw and fabricate steel.

When the worker accessed the machine’s operating area it started and a steel beam caught the worker, pulling him onto the machine’s roller table.

The worker then became trapped between the steel beam and roller table, and suffered multiple crush injuries to his left leg and pelvis. His leg was amputated.

WorkSafe’s Area Manager Danielle Henry said WorkSafe’s investigation found the machine was not adequately guarded.

“D & H Steel’s failure to ensure the machine was adequately guarded meant workers were exposed to unguarded trapping points, crushing points and moving parts, leading to a risk of entanglement. Our investigation found workers were routinely required to access the machine’s operating area to adjust or replace drill bits or repair faults, while the machine was electronically locked out. However, there was inadequate guarding in place to prevent the worker from accessing the operating area if the machines automatic lockout failed.”

“This is not best practice. The company should have ensured workers weren’t able to reach dangerous moving parts 

“At any business where workers are required to operate machinery, it’s imperative that the correct machine guarding is in place to ensure moving parts are separated from people.

D & H Steel in Auckland was fined $220,000. No reparation was ordered as $172,000 had been paid to the victim for emotional harm/consequential loss prior to sentencing.

Notes

  • A fine of $220,000 was imposed.
  • No reparation was ordered as the Defendant had paid $172,000 to the victim prior to sentencing.
  • D & H Steel appeared in the Waitakere District Court on 29 October for sentencing. The decision was released on 16 November.
  • D & H Steel Construction Limited was sentenced under sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and (2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
  • Being a PCBU having a duty to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers who work for the PCBU, while the worker was at work in the business or undertaking, namely operating the FICEP Beam Line Drill machine 1003DZB, did fail to comply with that duty, and that its failure exposed the worker to a risk of death or serious injury.
  • S 48(2)(c) carries a maximum penalty of $1,500,000.

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