An Oamaru meat-processing plant was fined in the Oamaru
District Court, after an employee had her fingers crushed in
Judge Joanna Maze yesterday ordered Lean Meats Oamaru Ltd to
pay a fine of $47,250 for failing to ensure the safety of an
employee, and $10,500 in emotional reparation to former meat
packer Wendy Jane Steel.
Greg La Hood, acting for the Ministry of Business, Innovation
and Employment, said the company had failed to ensure a
trapping point on a packaged cut conveyor in the plant's
boning room was safe, which had resulted in Miss Steel's
being taken to hospital for a crush injury and lacerations to
two fingers when a towel she was using to wipe down the
conveyor became tangled, and dragged her hand to a nip point.
Mr La Hood said Miss Steel had suffered "serious" harm and
"significant pain" as a result.
"It is clear the victim suffered emotional harm that has
impeded upon her life and has ongoing consequences in terms
He said the nip point was easily identifiable as a hazard,
and safety measures to make it safe would have been
In failing to act, the company had shown a "significant
degree of departure from industry standards", he said.
Lean Meats pleaded guilty to the charge and defence counsel
David Jackson said the company had already made remedial
safety changes as a result of the incident.
The company had also shown "genuine concern" for the victim,
"This incident has been taken very seriously by the company."
He denied the point where Miss Steel had been injured had
been an obvious nip point.
However, Judge Maze said the company's hazard register had
specifically identified conveyors as a hazard. The company
had not taken practicable steps to ensure the victim's
"This accident could readily have been avoided. I conclude
the risk here was wholly foreseeable."
She also noted the company had been found culpable in a
"remarkably similar" incident in 2009, and added if fellow
workers had not acted quickly to free Miss Steel, the
consequences to her could have been "very serious indeed".