Hamilton nursery fined $52,000 after employee injured

A Hamilton nursery has been fined $52,000 after a worker was seriously injured while using a machine.

Arborline Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Hamilton Magistrates’ Court earlier this month to one charge of failing to provide or maintain plant that was safe and without risks to health.

The company was fined $52,500 without conviction and ordered to pay costs of $3716.

The court heard in October 2020, the injured worker was tasked with putting seed trays through a seeding line machine, which places seed in the tray cells as they move along a conveyor belt.

The worker reached into the machine, which she believed was turned off, to clear the spilled seeds and her arm became entangled between a moving feeder bar and an axle, causing serious injury to her hand and wrist.

The court heard the company had failed to install required guarding around the exit of the machine and it had been reasonably practicable to do so to reduce or eliminate the risk of injury.

WorkSafe executive director of health and safety Narelle Beer stressed the importance of guarding when it came to protecting workers from the well-known risks associated with moving machinery.

“It’s absolutely essential that duty holders are doing everything they can to protect workers from the risk of machine entanglement,” Ms Beer said.

“It’s not enough to simply tell workers to be cautious.

“There needs to be proper guarding around danger areas of a machine to prevent gruesome injuries like this.

“Tragically, there have been 20 workplace fatalities so far this year.

“WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute employers.”

WorkSafe advice:

Identify hazards and assess the risks associated with those hazards.
Train staff in the safe operation of machines and equipment.
Develop and implement safe operating procedures for all staff.
Ensure safety guards and gates are compliant.

Source: The Standard

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