$50k fine after thumb sliced off

Last updated 13:09 28/11/2012

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An Auckland supermarket operator has been ordered to pay $50,000 after a staff member's thumb got chopped off in a meat slicer.

A deli assistant manager at Countdown Birkenhead was deboning ham on an automatic slicer in February when her thumb hit the blade.

The thumb later had to be amputated because of injuries sustained.
There was no guarding on the slicer as required, a recent Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment review found.

Ministry northern general manager John Howard said the incident was avoidable.

"As an employer, General Distributors Ltd failed to take all practicable steps to ensure that the employee was not exposed to the hazards," he said.
"Even though the principles of machine guarding are well known, people are still seriously injured and killed because machines are poorly guarded or not guarded at all."

At the North Shore District Court yesterday General Distributors was fined $45,000 and ordered to pay $5000 reparation.

Safety information and guidelines on the hazards of workplace machinery are available on the ministry's website.

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