29 Sep 2020

Lumber company fined after death of worker

3:03 pm on 29 September 2020

A lumber company has been ordered to pay over $600,000 for failing to ensure the safety of one of their workers, who died using machinery.

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Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

The woman died in November 2018, after suffering fatal chest injuries when she was pulled into machinery the sawmill used for grading and sorting timber.

The death led to an investigation by WorkSafe.

Kiwi Lumber - the employer - appeared at Masterton District Court earlier this month, and were found to have failed in their duty to ensure the safety of their workers.

They have been ordered by the judge to pay a fine of $350,000 as well as reparations to the victim's family totalling $263,762.

"The worker shouldn't have been able to access the machine so easily," said WorkSafe's Chief Inspector, Steve Kelly.

"Our message to all businesses is simple - if your worker has to interact with machinery then it must be guarded. The more human interaction needed around machinery, the more vital it is there is adequate guarding in place."