The District Court has fined an employer $60,000 and ordered the payment of $40,000 reparation to an employee, who was injured after the safety device on a machine was disabled. 

The disabling of the safety device was to allow a process to be carried out on the machine, but there was no system in place to ensure that the safety device was reinstalled before work was started again.  The employee suffered a serious hand injury because he could not hear that the machine was still operating (due to wearing earmuffs) and placed his hand inside the machine. This would have been safe had the safety device not been disabled.

The Court said that the fine would have been much higher had the defendant employer not been in a poor financial position and unable to pay a higher fine.

Alan Knowsley

Health & Safety Lawyer Wellington