The District Court in Invercargill has fined a manufacturing company $180,000 and ordered reparation of $35,000 plus consequential losses of over $18,000.  The employer had already paid $25,000 in reparation to the employee, so the total cost in fines and penalties is over $258,000.

The employee was working on a machine when it jammed.  He tried to free the machine with a piece of wire but, after that didn’t work, he reached his hand into the machine to try and unjam it.  Unfortunately another part of his body pressed the control of the machine activating it.  The employee suffered an amputation to four fingers of that hand.

The Court found that the machine was improperly guarded and that there should have been a system to isolate the moving parts of the machinery so that if the guard was opened the machinery immediately became to a halt.  There should also have been training on the proper process for clearing jams in the machine.

Alan Knowsley

Health & Safety and Employment Lawyer