17 Jul 2020

Pet food manufacturer fined $130k after worker loses fingertips

4:04 pm on 17 July 2020

A pet food manufacturer has been fined $130,000 after a worker suffered serious burns and had to have part of their fingers amputated.

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Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

The incident happened two years ago but Addiction Food of Te Puke was fined in the Tauranga District Court this week.

A WorkSafe investigation found the machine used to pack pet food was not properly guarded, and the worker's fingertips were crushed and burned between heat-sealing panels.

She suffered third-degree burns to her index finger, middle finger and thumb and they were amputated above the middle joints.

Before the incident, the company had received three improvement notices and one prohibition notice relating to health and safety.

WorkSafe acting chief inspector Danielle Henry said the previous notices on the other machinery should have prompted the manufacturer to conduct a full risk assessment.

"It's highly disappointing that a company WorkSafe had seriously engaged with on multiple occasions still failed to take health and safety seriously, allowing its workers to operate dangerous machinery with no safe guarding.

The investigation also found workers were not properly trained and health and safety guidelines were not clearly communicated to workers, Henry said.

"WorkSafe had given this company a clear directive to get its health and safety in order. It did not take appropriate action and a worker has needlessly suffered for their laxness."