The District Court has convicted and fined an employer following a work injury.

The employee was working on an extrusion machine when his fingers became jammed in unguarded rollers.  The injury resulted in partial amputation to two of the employee’s fingers and many months off work.

The Court found that it was well known and long recognised that guarding on this type of machinery was necessary and this fundamental step had not been taken.  The seriousness of this offence fell into the medium band and the starting point for a fine was $500,000.  The fine was reduced to $250,000 because of the employer’s guilty plea, cooperation with the prosecution, remorse and previous safety record.

In addition to the fine the company was ordered to pay $32,500 reparation.  This was on top of the topped up wages to cover the shortfall on ACC that the company had already paid.

The failing of the company here was that they did not engage an external expert to identify risks with the machinery they were using and to ensure that they took remedial steps.

Alan Knowsley
Health & Safety Lawyer