An accident in which a New Plymouth worker lost three fingers
has cost Fletcher Steel $78,500.
The employee was working on a heavy weight folder machine,
which folds sheet metal, when his left hand got caught in the
machine in March. His hand was crushed and he lost three of
Fletcher was convicted under the Health and Safety in
Employment Act 1992 and fined $55,500 in New Plymouth
District Court today.
It had already paid reparations of $23,000.
Department of Labour New Plymouth service manager Jo Pugh
said in a statement that even though the company did identify
the risk of hands or fingers getting caught in the machine,
it did not do enough to protect its employees from harm.
"The accident could have been avoided if the machine was
adequately guarded," she said.
"The machine is guarded by a time-out feature that requires
two people to operate the machine almost simultaneously
otherwise it won't work. The manufacturer's recommended
time-out is between 0.75 of a second and one second but
Fletcher allowed this to be set at 60 seconds.
"The machine could also have been fitted with a photoelectric
safety device that stops the machine if a light beam is
Since the accident Fletcher Steel Limited had installed the
photoelectric safety guarding to the machine.
Ms Pugh said the department was seeing too many workplace
accidents because machines were not properly guarded and it
had started a three-year project focusing on machine guarding
"Health and safety inspectors will be looking at whether
effective procedures and systems are in place around
machinery to ensure a safe environment," she said.