Restaurant fined over pasta machine injury

Last updated 16:12 17/10/2012

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A Bay of Plenty restaurant will have to pay up $26,000 after a staff member was seriously injured in a pasta machine.

Volare Restaurant in Tauranga has been ordered to pay a $20,000 fine and reparation of $6000 after an employee sustained serious injuries when his arm was trapped in a pasta maker.

The Tauranga District Court heard that on January 10 this year, a restaurant employee was preparing fresh pasta in an industrial-sized pasta mixer where the raw ingredients were combined and then extruded into the required pasta shapes.

As he opened the lid to check the consistency of the pasta dough, the employee's arm became caught around the mixing rod in the hopper, the court heard. Before he could stop the machine, he had received multiple fractures, soft tissue damage and tendon and nerve damage to his left arm.

The court was told the interlock switch on the pasta machine was broken, meaning that the mixing arm inside the pasta machine did not automatically stop when the lid was open. The machine should have been taken out of operation until the interlock switch was fixed, the court heard.

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment's Labour, northern general manager John Howard said it was easy to forget that a commercial kitchen can be a dangerous workplace.

"It is the duty of the employer to ensure that all hazards are identified and managed to ensure the safety of staff with a hazard register and written safe operating procedures," he said.

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