WorkSafe New Zealand reminds all employers to make sure machinery at work is safe to use to protect workers from injuries.
The reminder comes after a company in New Zealand was sentenced and fined $367,500 in Hastings District Court on Wednesday over the 2017 death of a worker. The victim was cleaning a bottle filling machine when her arm was drawn into the rotating equipment. It continued to rotate and the worker died at the scene.
According to the investigation, the machine was not interlocked. An interlock would have been prevented it from starting while guarding was open.
The machine was imported from China and was not assessed by a New Zealand engineer. It was not certified or compliant with New Zealand standards.
WorkSafe Chief Inspector Hayden Mander said interlocks are an important protection for workers.
“They are the ‘fail safe’ for machinery which has entanglement potential and installing one in this case could have prevented a tragic death,” said Inspector Mander.
“If a risk is identified in a business’ operations, failing to properly manage that risk is simply unacceptable. It’s unlawful, and just as importantly, failing to manage known risks exposes workers to injury or death.
“Health and safety of workers, not production, should be a company’s priority.”