The Hastings District Court has convicted a company and fined it $210,000 after a worker was injured in a machine.

The employee’s hand was caught in the machine and they suffered severe injuries.  The aggravating factor in this case was that the same sort of machine two years earlier had also resulted in a similar injury to another employee. 

After the initial injury the company engaged an engineer to propose solutions, but they did not work.  It therefore reverted to using the machine in an unsafe manner.  The employer should have engaged a proper expert to design safety features for the machine instead of using it in an unsafe manner.  Its failure to take its responsibilities seriously resulted in a completely avoidable serious injury to one of its workers.

In addition to the $210,000 fine it was also ordered to pay $18,000 reparation on top of the $10,000 it had already paid to the employee.

Trying to solve a problem, but giving up when it proves too hard is not an option.  Employers must take all practical steps to make their workplace safe.

Alan Knowsley
Health & Safety Lawyer