Lost finger costs firm $55,000

Last updated 11:45 21/08/2014

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A Waikato business has to pay nearly $55,000 after part of a worker's finger was crushed by a machine used for shaping steel tubing.

Industrial Tube Manufacturing was fined $39,375 and ordered to pay reparations of $15,000 as a result of the accident last October, WorkSafe said.

General machine operator Jonathan Vink's index finger was amputated above the first joint after being crushed.

"His hand was near the moving parts of the machine when he lost concentration and activated the foot lever to run the machine, and crushed his finger," WorkSafe said.

The swaging machine had been modified six months earlier, so it could handle longer lengths of steel.

When the accident happened the machine had no guarding in place to protect workers from moving parts when working with four-metre lengths of tubing, as Vink was doing when he was injured.

Industrial Tube was convicted under the Health and Safety in Employment Act of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure Vink's safety.

WorkSafe chief investigator Keith Stewart said the company should have fitted proper guards to stop workers accessing its dangerous moving parts while operating it.

"The company should have done a full hazard assessment following the modification work. That would have identified the risk posed by a lack of proper guards. An emergency stop button should also have been installed." 

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- Waikato Times

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