Employee Loses Arm, Company Fined 125,000 Dollars, All for Failure to Follow Safety Guidelines


Lost Arm in Tree Shredding Machine
A Christchurch, New Zealand company and one of its directors have been prosecuted after an employee lost his arm when it became trapped for several hours in a tree shredding machine, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
Fine of $100,000 and Reparations of $25,000
Canterbury Greenwaste Processors Ltd., and one of its directors Luke Charles Kepple, were convicted and ordered to pay fines totaling $100,000 and reparations totaling $25,000 following the incident which happened in September last year. [WCx]
The Christchurch District Court heard that the victim was processing greenwaste using a ‘ripper’ – a truck mounted shredding machine – and was operating a crane to lift unprocessed green waste into the machine’s hopper.
After climbing down from the crane cab, the worker tripped on the ground next to the truck and put his arm out to steady himself. His arm became entangled in the nip point of the unguarded conveyor belt used to transfer the processed waste away from the ripper.
Worker Trapped for Several Hours
“The worker remained trapped in the conveyor for several hours until emergency services were able to free the remains of his arm, which was later amputated in hospital,” said Southern General Manager for the Labour Group of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Jean Martin. [WCx]
Accident Could Have Been Avoided
According to Martin, “This worker experienced injury and trauma that no person should ever be subjected to. This accident could have been avoided if the company had put in place adequate machine guarding, carried out regular hazard checks, and put in place safe operating procedures for using the machinery. It should also have provided safety warning signs and measures for ensuring the ripper could be safely shut off.”

Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com Contact mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com





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