EMPLOYMENT

Meat processor fined after employee crushes hand

Thursday 8 November 2012, 5:14PM
By Department of Labour
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An Oamaru meat processor has been fined $47,250 and ordered to pay $10,500 in reparation after an employee’s hand was crushed between unguarded fixed rollers on a conveyor belt.

The Oamaru District Court heard today that in January this year at the Lean Meats Oamaru Limited premises on Redcastle Road, Oamaru  the worker was packing cuts of meat after they had been vacuum packed. As she tried to mop up excess water from the conveyor her hand became trapped in the fixed rollers leading to crush injuries needing hospital treatment.

Acting MBIE Labour Group General Manager Southern, Francois Barton, said: “Unguarded machinery is extremely dangerous and an accident waiting to happen. There were several simple steps available to the employer that would have safeguarded against this sort of incident happening that were not taken - such as replacing fixed rollers with pop-out ones or putting in tunnel guards.

“This case illustrates the importance of effective safety auditing that identifies all possible trapping points and either removes them completely or guards them effectively.

MBIE Labour has a three-year project under way with the aim of reducing the number of workplace accidents involving unguarded and inadequately guarded machinery.

Conveyors are a well-known hazard across a range of industries and have been involved in incidents and accidents for many years. Publications on current best practice in safe machine guarding are available on the MBIE Labour website.