WorkSafe NZ Prosecution Corner - June

13 Jun 2017

What happened?

A landscaping and timber supply business was charged for failing to take practicable steps to ensure no harm to its employees.

The victim was employed by the business and was responsible for cutting timber for customer orders.

The victim was cutting lengths of timber using a radial arm saw. After feeding timber from the left side of the saw with his left hand, and holding the saw’s operating handle with his right hand, he drew the saw forward to begin his next cut. As he did this, he inadvertently put his left hand near the rotating saw blade.

The victims hand contacted the rotating saw blade and as a result, he suffered amputation of two fingers – one at the second joint and one at the first joint.

The business was fined $33,750 and ordered to pay $22,069 in reparations. They were found guilty under the Health and Safety in Employment Act for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure no harm to its employees.

What you can do to prevent such things from happening again:

  1. Ensure that employees are isolated from the hazard of the rotating blades by installing guards.
  2. Provide an effective system to adequately train and supervised in the safe operation of the machine.
  3. Ensure planning and hazard management is undertaken before work commences. You can use Site Safe's free Site Specific Safety Plan to help you.