Manufacturers can’t just install their equipment in a business and walk away without checking the equipment for safety in the workplace according to the New Zealand Department of Labour.
The comments came after the sentencing of an Auckland meat processing systems manufacturer over an accident in which a meat worker broke his leg.
Realcold Milmech Ltd was fined $44,000 and ordered to pay reparation of $9,000 in the Tauranga District Court for its role in the accident which Department of Labour Waikato/Eastern Regional Manager Ona De Rooy says involved several failures by Realcold Milmech.
“It didn’t do a risk assessment after installing the equipment or ensure the equipment couldn’t operate when people needed to access danger areas for maintenance and cleaning. In addition to this there were no guards in place preventing access when the equipment was operating and the equipment didn’t have automatic locking devices,” she says.
De Rooy says appropriate guarding of machinery has been law for more than a century “but people still ignore it or forget about it.”
“Manufacturers have to give safety for users top priority, because unsafe machinery is the cause of a high number of serious harm and fatal injuries.
“We have a three-year machine guarding project underway to improve this aspect of workplace health and safety and this case involving Realcold Milmech is a good reminder that manufacturers are liable for the ongoing safety of the equipment they produce. Responsibility doesn’t end at the point of sale and installation,” De Rooy added.
Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing.
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
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