Amputation leads to fine of $332,000

Meat processing company Alliance Group Ltd has been fined more than $330,000 for failings which led to an inexperienced worker amputating their hand.

The company was sentenced in the Timaru District Court on Wednesday following an incident at its Smithfield plant in March 2017, in which the worker lost his hand after reaching inside a piece of machinery.

The worker had been employed for only five days when he was left unsupervised on a task, WorkSafe said.

"Due to the worker's lack of familiarity with the job, he opened a section of the machinery used for dehydrating blood into a powder and placed his right hand inside.

"The hand came in contact with a rotating screw and was amputated."

A WorkSafe investigation had found Alliance Group failed to ensure the health and safety of its workers, including by ensuring the machine the worker was using was adequately guarded.

"The level of injury and trauma this worker endured as a result of Alliance's failings will impact him for the rest of his life," WorkSafe investigations and specialist services deputy general manager Simon Humphries said.

"This is a stark reminder to others operating machinery in every industry to ensure machinery is adequately guarded."

The company was sentenced under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and fined $332,000, in addition to voluntarily making reparations prior to sentencing.

The company had also since ensured a guard was added to the machine and a standard operating procedure produced for it.