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Poultry producer fined after employee loses part of finger

Media Release

27 SEPTEMBER 2011

Tegel Foods Limited has been fined $41,250 today following an accident at its Christchurch factory, where one of their 1,700 employees was injured using an unguarded machine.

The Christchurch District Court also ordered the company to pay $5,000 in reparation following the accident on 6 October 2010 which resulted in the employee having the top of her finger amputated.

“The employee was feeding meat through the mincer and her left hand was positioned close to where the meat comes out.  Due to the fitting on the mincer, the rotating blade was exposed while the machine was in operation,” says the Department of Labour’s Christchurch Service Manager, Margaret Radford.

“The employee’s left ring finger came into contact with the rotating blade and had to be amputated at the first knuckle.

“Our investigation found that there were a number of things the company should have done to prevent this employee losing the top of her finger.

“The rotator blade should have been guarded and a hazard review should have been completed with the employee when she began work on the mincer.  A safe operating procedure for operating the mincer was also missing.

“Since the accident, Tegel Foods Limited has placed a guard on the mincer and has developed a safe operating procedure and hazard register for this type of machine,” says Ms Radford.  It emerged in court that the company has now decommissioned the machine.

Last year, the Department launched a nationwide project to help reduce the number and severity of machinery-related accidents.  In the first year of the project inspectors visited more than 1400 workplaces to talk with employers and increase their awareness of machine guarding.

ENDS
Notes to Editor