An employee has lost a leg after it got pulled into a wood chipper machine. The employee noticed that several small branches had not been picked up by the rollers and used his foot to kick them in. The employee then slipped, resulting in the amputation of his right leg.

The District Court has charged the employer under Health and Safety legislation for not taking all practicable steps to ensure the safety of their employees at work.

WorkSafe New Zealand found that the employer could have complied with the Australian standard for machinery guarding by extending the chute of the chipper to prevent injury. This standard has since been adopted in New Zealand and is now AS/NZS 4024.

Employers should keep up to date with machinery standard’s to ensure that they fulfil all of their statutory obligations.

The Court sentenced and fined the employer $24,750, and ordered the employer to pay $35,000 in reparation to the employee.