Company fined after worker’s arm crushed

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Work safety was in the spotlight when Nelson company Sollys Freight was sentenced in the Nelson District Court over a workplace accident where an employee suffered injuries after his arm became caught in a rock-crusher.

William Clark was left with cuts, crushing injuries, a dislocated shoulder and a fractured upper arm after the incident at Golden Bay Dolomite, a plant run by a company associated with Sollys, where he worked as a labourer.

According to WorkSafe New Zealand, Clark was trying to clear debris from a conveyor belt on a rock-crusher when his glove became caught and his arm was dragged into the drum roller last August.

Sollys pleaded guilty to two charges under the Health and Safety in Employment Act of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure Clark’s safety at work.

It was ordered by the court to pay $52,000 in fines and $15,000 in reparations.

WorkSafe NZ’s chief  inspector, Keith Stewart, said that the rock-crusher should have had guards in place to prevent access to the dangerous parts of the machine while it was in operation.

WorkSafe NZ put a prohibition notice on the use of the machine until guards were put in place.

“Sollys Freight also let itself and its workers down by not ensuring it had an effective hazard identification process in place,” said Stewart.

“Mr Clark was never shown the standard operating procedures for the rock-crusher or the manufacturer’s brochure. And he was not aware of any written procedures for the operation of the machine or the identification of its hazards.

“All companies – particularly those with dangerous machinery – need to make sure they systematically identify and manage health and safety risks.”

In 2011, driver Bryan James Wilson was killed at a dolomite quarry in Golden Bay operated by the company when he lost control of his dump truck and plunged down the side of Mt Burnett.

Wilson was not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown from the cab and died at the scene.

The police and Department of Labour found that Sollys was not at fault in that situation.

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