6 Jul 2020

Napier meat company fined for severe injury to worker

12:07 pm on 6 July 2020

A Napier meat company has been ordered to pay $293,000 in fines and reparation after a worker's hand was caught in machinery.

IMeat proccessing machinery (stock photo).

Meat processing machinery (stock photo). Photo: 123rf

Fresh Meats NZ Ltd was sentenced at the Napier District Court last Friday.

The worker suffered injuries so severe she may never have full use of her hand again.

WorkSafe said adequately guarded machinery would have prevented the injury.

In November 2018 the worker was cleaning the chains used to move carcasses when her arm became trapped in the moving parts.

It took the victim's co-workers 10 minutes to help remove her hand from the chain. As a result of the incident she suffered extensive cuts and trauma to muscles, tendons, nerves, blood vessels and bones in her right hand and wrist.

The worker will receive $40,000 in reparation.

WorkSafe acting chief inspector Danielle Henry said the woman's injuries were so serious she would never recover full mobility in her hand.

Its investigation following the incident found that the machinery was unguarded.

"The importance of machine guarding has been a focus area across all industries for many years," Henry said.

"Though a task instruction sheet prepared by the company clearly stated that machinery should only be cleaned when it was turned off, our investigation found it was common practice for staff to clean the machinery while it was moving.

"Fresh Meats NZ Ltd had gone so far as to identify a hazard, but then did not make sure the safe system of work was in place.

"Writing down a health and safety plan is one thing, but it must be implemented."

The slaughter and processing company processes over 250,000 lambs a year.