Take immediate action to manage known risks - 24.8.17

Businesses must immediately take action to manage their known risks – identifying and listing them is not enough, says WorkSafe New Zealand.

This follows the first sentencing under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 of Budget Plastics Ltd for health and safety breaches after a worker’s hand was dragged into a machine while he was pouring recycled plastic into it on 6 April 2016.

Budget Plastics Ltd appeared in the Palmerston North District Court on 23 May 2017 for sentencing, and in a judgment released yesterday the court fined the company $100,000 and ordered reparation of $37,000.

WorkSafe General Manager Operations and Specialist Services, Brett Murray, said, “The lesson here is to fix machinery as soon as risks are identified. If you can’t fix it, then take it out of service until it is safe to use.

“The company identified issues with the guarding on this machine six weeks before the incident, and yet at the time of the incident, nothing had been done to guard, or isolate the machine.”

“The failure of the Budget Plastics Ltd to take action to this known risk left their employee with a life-long injury. Sadly, it could have been avoided by acting quickly and guarding the machine properly,” said Mr Murray.

The WorkSafe investigation found that the company had inadequate systems for identifying and managing risks; that their safe operating procedures were outdated; their policies and processes for training staff were lacking, and key safety features such as emergency stop buttons within reach of the operators were absent.

Source: WorkSafe NZ