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  • Samantha Prevezanos

Workplace Safety - Machine Guarding

"In March 2023, in a West Auckland bakery, dough prep machinery was insufficiently safeguarded resulting in two separate incidents and injuries to workers causing the permanent disfigurement of workers hands.”

WORKSAFE

What happened?


In January 2021, a worker had four fingers severed when her hand got caught in a seed grinding machine. The worker had never previously used the grinder or received any training on its operation. The victim has since had seven surgeries on her hand and remains off work.


A WorkSafe New Zealand investigation found the grinder had no safe operating procedure, and its safety guard had not been replaced when it broke off 18 months prior. The worker was unsupervised, and the only training given to her was immediately prior to the incident.


In June 2021, another worker had her fingertip sliced off while using a dough dividing machine. The fingertip could not be reattached, and her treatment is ongoing.


WorkSafe found this machine again did not have any safe operating procedure, and its guillotine was freely accessible. There was no inspection or maintenance undertaken, and this victim was also inadequately trained – just like her colleague.


“Both of these incidents were entirely avoidable, but to harm a second worker is nothing short of reprehensible when Bakeworks was already on notice of the harm that deficient machine guarding can cause,” says WorkSafe's area investigation manager, Danielle Henry.


Bakeworks Limited was sentenced at Waitakere District Court on 15 March 2023, Judge Fraser imposed a fine of $36,000.


The Learnings:


  • All machinery needs to have a current Safe Operating Procedure and staff must have adequate training in the machines use.

  • The correct safeguarding needs to be implemented, appropriate to the machinery (fixed, interlocked, adjustable, light barriers etc.)

  • Installed guarding needs to be regularly checked and needs to not pose its own safety risk to workers (sharp edges, unfinished surfaces.)

  • Procedures for dealing with emergencies need to be developed and any safety concerns communicated.



There are many ways to ensure the safety of people working with machinery.

By employing the correct safety measures and safeguarding, you can easily eliminate and minimise the risk of serious harm.


Information source: www.worksafe.govt.nz/about-us/news-and-media/machine-guarding-failures-reprehensible/

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