Meat company Affco New Zealand has been fined $56,250 after one of its employees fell nearly seven metres in an accident at its Horotiu premises in the Waikato.
Affco was also ordered to pay reparation of $8000 as a result of the accident in March last year.
The Hamilton District Court heard that in March last year an employee sustained significant injuries - multiple compound fractures of the left leg and fractured toes of both feet - as a result of falling almost seven metres into a carton well area while working.
A risk of falling had previously been identified in 2005 when the premises had undergone significant refurbishment. However, the preventative measures taken, including installing a gate at the top of the well- shaft and providing employees with a fall arrest harness, weren't enough to stop the March accident.
"While Affco had taken some steps to mitigate the risk of falling by installing the gate and fall arrest safety harness, the fact is that these measures were neither managed well, nor were they adequate at any time," said MBIE Labour Group's northern general manager, John Howard.
"The onus is on the employer to ensure employees are not exposed to harm and potential injury - and in this case the injuries were significant.
"Today's decision sends a clear message to Affco that it needs to both understand the responsibility it holds to its employees and deliver on it," Howard said.
Affco was charged under section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act with failing (as an employer) to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of an employee while at work.
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