On 13 July 2016 a worker was working at the Material Recycling Facility of the recycling centre in Masterton, where he was operating an automatic waste cardboard baler (which bundles up cardboard into bales that are held together with wires), and he was wearing gloves. He noticed that a wire wasn’t picked up by one of the twisters (which automatically tie the wires) and tried to ‘flick’ it back into place. His glove became entangled in the twister, causing his right hand to be drawn into the twister. The worker lost his ring finger and little finger and sustained de-gloving on the back of his right hand. He returned to work on light duties 15 weeks after the incident.

Alleged Breach

Sections 36(1) (a), 48(1) and (2) (c), of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015

Summary of Enforceable Undertaking

Earthcare will:

  • Provide amends in the form of a payment to the victim.
  • Provide further training to workers in the risk assessment of machinery.
  • Co-fund the development of a machinery risk management course for industry.
  • Fund course attendance for 15 workers from the wider waste industry.
  • Promote the industry benefits of the course to the waste industry, and wider industry, via WasteMinz “Revolve” magazine; the EMA Business Plus magazine; and other communication channels.
  • Make a donation to AT Hand Therapy in Greytown.

This enforceable undertaking has a total expenditure of at least $102,000.

Reasons for accepting the Undertaking

The alleged contravention does not amount to an offence against section 47 (reckless conduct) which would preclude it from being accepted.
The enforceable undertaking meets the requirements of WorkSafe’s Enforceable Undertakings Operational Policy; noting:

  • The nature of the proposals in the application and the benefits that would be realised to the health and safety system from them.
    • The activities in the enforceable undertaking will provide long-term sustainable health and safety improvements in the workplace, industry, and community.
  • The nature of the alleged contravention and how serious it was.
    • The incident was serious.
  • Information received from any interested party in relation to the contravention.
    • The victim has expressed pragmatism regarding a suitable enforcement outcome to the incident.
  • Mitigation and remedial action, already taken, or planned, regarding both the contravention and any person affected by the contravention (including victims).
  • In addition to the measures outlined above, Earthcare has:
    • Expressed regret that the incident occurred and that a serious injury was suffered by the victim.
    • Implemented corrective safety measures as a result of the incident.
    • Provided additional financial and non-financial support to the victim and their family
  • The person’s past performance and history of compliance with health and safety legislation.
    • This is satisfactory.
  • Any likely outcome if the matter were dealt with by legal proceedings.
    • A charge was filed in relation to this incident on the basis that there was both evidential sufficiency, and a public interest in initiating prosecution: a successful prosecution outcome may have resulted.
  • Any other matter which WorkSafe thinks is relevant.
    • The undertaking delivers benefits beyond compliance.
    • The undertaking offers sufficient benefit to the workplace, industry and community to offset the seriousness of the offending.
    • The undertaking contains acceptable terms.
    • The undertaking accounts for the benefits that accrue to Earthcare by a prosecution not proceeding.

Date accepted

26 February 2018

Further Information

View the full Earthcare Environmental Limited enforceable undertaking here.

Enforceable undertaking - Earthcare Environmental Limited (PDF 1.6 MB)