Machine guarding a matter of life and death - 9.2.18

There are no second chances with heavy machinery says WorkSafe after the sentencing of Easton Agriculture Limited today in Palmerston North District Court.

The sentencing follows the death of a worker in August 2016 after he became trapped in a potato harvester on a farm in Shannon. The worker had been employed by the defendant for more than 30 years and was familiar with the machine he was operating.

WorkSafe’s investigation found that the machine had no guarding over a nip point between exposed rollers on the machine, that Easton Agriculture had no lone worker policy in place and did not have a standard operating procedure for the safe operation of the machine. Guarding could have saved the worker’s life.

WorkSafe Deputy General Manager, Investigations and Specialist Services, Simon Humphries said:

“This fatality is a sombre reminder that some of the machines we work with have the potential to kill us. When it comes to big pieces of machinery, there are no second chances. Limbs and lives are lost.

“It’s a new year. Take stock of your machines and the risks associated with them and spend the time to mitigate those risks – so that if you or your workers make a mistake – you just might have saved a life”.

Source: Worksafe NZ