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$680,000 For Safety Failures At Timber Mill

Published 12 Feb 2019

Recently one of the largest timber manufacturer and exporter based in Rotorua has been through the Courts after WorkSafe brought charges for 2 workplace accidents nearly two years ago.

In March 2017 a worker trying to reinstate a dislodged chain on a timber de-stacking machine got his hand caught by lost the tops of three fingers.

December prior to this saw another worker (at a different branch) requiring to have their hand amputated after getting it caught in a wood planer.

Following WorkSafe investigations a series of failures were identified in both instances. The manufacturer's guard for the plane was located in a cupboard next to the planer, no hazard inspections in place to identify the risk or checks to ensure guards were being used.

The de-stacking machine had inadequate guarding, no documented Standard Operating Procedures, and the worker was not trained to know where the emergency stop buttons were located.

Fines totally $680,000 were awarded against the company, only $80,000 of which was reparations to the victims.