Slaughterhouse pays $55K over injury

Last updated 16:37 23/01/2014

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Normally it is animals that face the chop in slaughterhouses, but one worker found his finger on the chopping block.

A man was collecting blood from slaughtered animals at meat processor Riverlands Eltham in Taranaki when his finger became caught in a conveyor belt.

He lost the end of his right index finger, and Riverlands has been ordered to pay him $12,500 in reparations.

The company was convicted in the New Plymouth District Court last December 5 on a charge of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of the employee while at work.

As well as the reparations, it was fined $42,500.

In convicting the company, Judge Max Courtney said that notwithstanding the victim's action in putting his hand on the conveyor, the company did not take all practicable steps to protect him by ensuring the machine was guarded, that it had a start warning system and that it had an emergency stop button in an accessible position.

Worksafe New Zealand chief inspector Keith Stewart said the worker had been unnecessarily injured because Riverlands lacked sufficient safety protocols.

"It is notable that on the day of the accident the company installed a guard on the machine," he said. "It was too little too late for the worker.

"Relying on the old adage 'it has not happened before' as a justification for not taking foreseeable safety steps is proven by this case to be bad safety and business judgment."

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- Fairfax Media

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