Health and safety failing costs company thousands

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A horrific workplace accident that resulted in an employee losing four fingers has had a costly consequence for the employer.

Goodman Fielder has been fined $32,500 and ordered to pay reparations of $8000 following the accident at its Palmerston North Ernest Adams plant. The company has already paid the victim - who also hand the skin pulled from his hand in the accident - $47,000 to cover his expenses and the difference between ACC payments and what he would have earned if he hadn’t had the accident.

At the time of the incident the employee was cleaning dough from a machine while it was still running in preparation for another batch of dough to be put through it. As he lifted a loading hopper from the machine, he stumbled and his hand became caught between the two rollers. Four fingers from his right hand were amputated, while the thumb was severely broken and had “degloving” of his hand to his wrist.

Investigations revealed there were no guards on the machine to stop employees from accessing it while it was running.

“We also found that although there was a standard procedure for the machine’s general operation, there was no plan for this process which resulted in the very serious injury to the employee,” MBIE Chief Inspector Investigations, Keith Stewart, stated.

The company has since implemented an interlock guarding system to prevent a similar accident.

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