The District Court has ordered an employer to pay over $250,000 for breaching their health and safety obligations, resulting in serious harm to an employee.

The employee was cleaning a machine and reached in behind one of the parts of the machine to continue cleaning.

However, the machine had not been shut down properly, and began operating. The employee’s hand was crushed in the machine and required substantial amputation.

Worksafe found that the cleaning process followed by the company was against manufacturer recommendations, and required employees to move away from the machine’s guard.

Additionally Worksafe noted that the company had a standard operating procedure for the machine, but it was neither monitored nor reviewed, allowing the dangerous method of cleaning the machine to be carried out.

The Court held that the employer’s failings put its employees at significant risk and ordered it to pay $60,000 in reparations to the employee in addition to a fine of $193,500.

It is not sufficient that employers only have health and safety policies in place. These policies must be consistently reviewed, monitored, and enforced, to ensure that employee health and safety is not put at risk.

Failing to carry out these responsibilities consistently may result in serious injury or death to an employee, and potentially prosecution resulting in a significant fine.

If there are concerns about health and safety policies in your workplace, or how they are enforced, it is wise to speak with a professional experienced in the area.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-priced Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.