Court Summary - at a glance
Being a PCBU having a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers who work for the PCBU, including the victim while the workers are at work in the business or undertaking, including operating the extruder system, did fail to comply with that duty and that failure exposed workers to a risk of serious injury.
It was reasonably practicable for Addiction Foods NZ Limited to have:
- undertaken an effective risk assessment of the extruder having regard to its regular operational use and ancillary tasks, including cleaning, maintenance, or repair (both routine and unscheduled, including the removal of blockages and/or jams).
- ensured that the openings to the extruder were guarded in a way which complied with AS/NZS 4024, by securing every part of the extruder against movement including inadvertent movement, until the diverter and associated guarding were returned to safe operating condition.
- developed, documented, communicated, implemented and monitored safe working practices in respect of the removal and replacement of the diverter.
On 4 April 2021, the victim (a worker for the defendant) and one of his co-workers, took steps to clear a blockage in the extruder. The victim turned off the seven switches used to shut down the different elements of the extruder, but he did not lock and tag out the machine. The victim then disassembled elements of the extruder in order to clear the blockage. The victim restarted the extruder, to eliminate any product left in the extruder barrel. Shortly thereafter, in an attempt to clear a blockage from the extruder, the victim inserted his hand into the opening to the extruder. His right index finger came into contact with the twin screw mechanism of the extruder and was amputated between his first and second knuckles.
The victim was taken to Tauranga Hospital, and while the end of his finger was able to be located from within the extruder, it could not be reattached.
Consequential loss - $710
Costs - $3,671