A Manawatū meat plant has been fined $350,000 after an employee died while using a modified meal bagging machine last year.
In April 2021, 47-year-old Dwayne Summers was trapped and crushed to death while using a meal bagging machine at Kakariki Proteins Limited.
WorkSafe investigated the incident and discovered that the machine involved was a replica of one installed at the site, but had been modified to fit in a new location.
The change posed a significant crush hazard and additionally removed barriers that kept the worker away from exposed moving parts, WorkSafe said today.
The investigation revealed that Karariki Proteins failed to carry out an adequate risk assessment on the replica, did not train its staff to use the machine correctly and failed to adequately supervise them.
There was also no easily accessible lockable isolation switch to stop the machine quickly in an emergency.
Kakariki Proteins Limited was sentenced this morning in Palmerston North District Court for failing to ensure the health and safety of its workers.
The company was ordered to pay a $350,000 fine and $130,000 in reparations to the victim’s family.
Paul West, area survey manager at WorkSafe, said it was the responsibility of companies to identify hazards when installing new equipment.
“It sounds simple but is so often missed. You may have a machine that works perfectly fine, but if you move it or duplicate it, ask yourself how the device is going to be used and if a hazard has been introduced.
“If you hire a consultant, make sure they are competent in the work you are asking them to do.”
West said the findings of the survey go beyond a single industry and a single site.
“As a country, we owe it to victims like Dwayne Summers to pay more attention to modified machinery.”