Auckland Mitre 10 MEGA fined after teen loses fingers

12 Nov

12 November 2014

Grove Hardware Limited, trading as Mitre 10 MEGA Glenfield, was fined $39,450 and ordered to pay reparation of $20,000 yesterday after an employee had two fingers partially amputated and nerve severed on another finger by a saw. The 16-year-old employee spent nine days in hospital as a result of his serious injuries.

The employer was sentenced today in the North Shore District Court under the Health and Safety in Employment Act for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of the employee.

The saw was initially guarded by perspex blade guards which kept breaking. A few days before the incident in March 2014, the guards were replaced by two steel guards which were incorrectly installed and kept jamming.

The right hand guard was then removed and the left hand guard was left stuck in an upright position. These actions exposed the rotating cutting blade.

WorkSafe New Zealand’s investigation also found that a key used to unlock the saw was easily accessible to all workers – it should have been restricted to trained or authorised operators only. At times the key was also left in the saw.

“Grove Hardware should have ensured that the saw was guarded, that the guards were correctly installed and that there was an effective system for training operators,” says WorkSafe New Zealand Chief Inspector, Keith Stewart.

“The Duty Manager’s log book and weekly checklist contained a check for the saw that ‘all guards should be attached and in good working condition’. Under the corrective actions section it said ‘unsafe machinery must not be used until repaired’. This was signed off by the defendant but was clearly not monitored or implemented.

“Serious workplace injuries are often caused because of inadequate machine guarding or machines not being used properly. Young people in particular are at risk when using machinery and it is important that health and safety systems ensure they are protected.”

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