Accident costs firm $67,000

SARAH DUNN
Last updated 13:00 12/07/2014

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Golden Bay company Solly's Freight has been ordered to pay $67,000 in fines and reparations after worker William Clark had his arm caught in a rock crusher machine. Managing director Merv Solly says he'll pay, but he is disappointed with the situation.

Clark was working as a labourer at Golden Bay Dolomite, a plant run by a company associated with Solly's, when the incident happened in August last year. Worksafe New Zealand said he was attempting to clear debris away from one of the conveyer belts on a rock crusher when his glove got caught and his arm was dragged into the drum roller.

Clark suffered cuts, crushing, a dislocated shoulder and a fracture to his upper arm.

Solly's pleaded guilty to two charges under the Health and Safety in Employment Act of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure Clark's safety at work.

The company was sentenced yesterday in the Nelson District Court. It will pay $52,000 in fines and $15,000 in reparations.

Solly said the incident had caused him great personal stress and distress. He said he felt trapped by many aspects of employment law.

Worksafe New Zealand's chief inspector Keith Stewart said the rock crusher should have had guards in place to prevent access to the dangerous parts of the machine while it was in operation. Following the incident, Worksafe NZ prohibited the use of the machine until appropriate guards were put in place.

"Solly's Freight also let itself and its workers down by not ensuring it had an effective hazard identification process in place," he said. "Mr Clark was never shown the standard operation procedure for the rock crusher or the manufacturer's brochure. And he was not aware of any written procedures for the operation of the machine or the identification of its hazards.

"All companies - particularly those with dangerous machinery - need to make sure they systematically identify and manage health and safety risks."

In 2011, driver Bryan James Wilson was killed at a Golden Bay dolomite quarry operated by Solly's when his all-terrain Volvo dump truck plunged down a steep face on Mt Burnett, northwest of Collingwood.

The 45-year-old lost control of the truck while negotiating a left- hand turn, and it went over the edge. Wilson was not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown from the cab during the descent. He died at the scene.

The police and Labour Department found Solly's was not at fault and no charges were laid. Coroner Carla na Nagara said in her findings that while "it is difficult to understand why this work is not controlled or regulated in terms of formal training", she was "not persuaded that a lack of training contributed to the accident".

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- The Nelson Mail

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