Store fined for loss of fingers

gavel, judge, fineGrove Hardware, trading as Mitre 10 MEGA Glenfield, has been fined following a teenage employee’s injury as the result of a faulty saw guard.

The 16 year old’s injury involved in the partial amputation of two fingers and a severed nerve on another finger, with nine days spent in hospital.

Sentencing under the Health and Safety in Employment Act was for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of an employee, and took place in the North Shore District Court.

The fine was $39,450 with reparation of $20,000.

A few days prior to the March 2014 incident, perspex blade guards that kept breaking were replaced by two steel guards.

These guards were incorrectly installed and kept jamming.

The rotating cutting blade was exposed when the right hand guard was removed and the left hand guard was left stuck in an upright position.

The investigation by WorkSafe New Zealand also found that the key, used to unlock the saw, was easily accessible to all workers, when it should only have been available to trained or authorised operators.

The key also remained in the saw at times.

Keith Stewart, WorkSafe NZ chief inspector, said that the saw guards and their correct installation should have been ensured by Grove Hardware, in addition to an effective system for training operators.

“The Duty Manager’s log book and weekly checklist contained a check for the saw that ‘all guards should be attached and in good working condition’. Under the corrective actions section it said ‘unsafe machinery must not be used until repaired’. This was signed off by the defendant but was clearly not monitored or implemented,” Stewart said.

“Serious workplace injuries are often caused because of inadequate machine guarding or machines not being used properly. Young people in particular are at risk when using machinery and it is important that health and safety systems ensure they are protected.”

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