28 Sep 2018

Meat company fined $300k after man's hand cut off

1:36 pm on 28 September 2018

A man whose hand was cut off in a Timaru meat works machine believes the company should have been ordered to pay more than the $300,000 fine it received.

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Photo: 123RF

The company, Alliance Group Limited, has been ordered to pay the fine after Mike Duke was left alone with the machine he wasn't familiar with on his fifth day into the job.

Mr Duke said he was in the rendering plant about to clean a machine.

He had written down notes with how to operate the machinery and thought he knew what to do, but didn't realise the machine was still running.

"That's when I put my hand in there to clean it and the machine took my hand off straight away," Mr Duke said.

No-one was around to help.

"I was left alone for hours at a time, so I had to try and find my way out.

"If I had fainted, I would have bled to death and died, for sure."

Mr Duke said his adrenaline set in, which compelled him to seek help.

"I made my way out of the building and screamed out at the first person I saw and they realised something wasn't right."

WorkSafe's investigation found the company had failed to ensure the health and safety of its workers.

The company, which he is still employed at, earns big money and could have paid more for the loss of his right hand, Mr Duke said.

"They did get off quite lightly, they could have got a bigger one," he said.

"You get discounts for pleading guilty, you get discounts for everything - the way that works, I don't think that's right."

But he said in many respects, the company has responded in the right way.

"They paid 100 percent of my ACC, which they didn't have to," he said.

He said he will head back to work, once he gets a bionic right hand in January.

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