One of New Zealand’s largest meat processing firms, Alliance Group, has been fined $60,000 and ordered to pay $20,000 in reparation following a serious accident at its Lorneville Plant near Invercargill in December 2011.
The Invercargill District Court heard that on 17 December 2011 an employee was cleaning machinery at the plant when he stopped to remove a piece of meat caught in a conveyor. As he did so, his hand suffered serious injury when it became trapped between the roller and the conveyor belt which was still operating.
“This was an accident that not only could have been prevented, but should have been prevented as the company had already identified and documented it in a hazard survey carried out earlier that year,” says MBIE Health and Safety Southern Area General Manager, Francois Barton.
“This is a large facility employing more than 2,000 staff working around the clock in a fast-moving environment. It contains numerous potential hazards, all of which need to be identified and all practicable steps taken to isolate them.
“Even though the principles of machine guarding are well known, people are still seriously injured and killed because machines are poorly guarded or not guarded at all. It is essential that all employers and employees understand the hazards associated with the use of machinery in the workplace. Information and guidance material is available on the Ministry’s website.
“There are very clear and long-standing principles around safe machine guarding, and all the relevant information is freely available online,” said Mr Barton.