The price of not practicing workplace safety to its entirety has cost one New Zealand company a stiff fine.
Kernohan Engineering Ltd was recently fined $37,000 and ordered to pay reparation of $20,000 after a worker had his hand crushed by a 1.8 ton housing block.
The housing block, which is a rectangular block of steel used to help support large cylindrical rollers, toppled forward from a forklift as it was being re positioned during planned maintenance at a fiber board factory near Rangiora in December 2013.
Michael Livingstone instinctively tried to stop the block falling by putting his right hand on its top corner. His hand became trapped between the block and the heel of the forklift fork. He suffered crush injuries and multiple fractures that have left him with restricted mobility and a weak grip.
Kernohan Engineering was sentenced in the Christchurch District Court under the Health and Safety in Employment Act for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees and contractors.
Job Safety Analysis Was Missed
WorkSafe New Zealand’s Chief Investigator Keith Stewart says moving the 1.8 ton housing block was clearly hazardous work and a job safety analysis should have been done beforehand.
“A proper job safety analysis would have identified the risks and the best way to minimize those risks before anyone was in harm’s way. It would have identified the need to stabilize the housing block and ensured the proper equipment was used.
“In this case a crane should have been used to support and stabilize the housing block from above to prevent it toppling.
“This case is a reminder of the importance of taking the time to do proper analysis and planning before undertaking such dangerous work,” added Stewart.
Author Kori Shafer-Stack, Editor, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in post-injury response procedures and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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