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Workplace death: Company fined $367k after worker sucked into machinery

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
Business,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 14 August 2019, 2:28PM
Homegrown Juice Co was fined more than $350,000. (Photo / File)
Homegrown Juice Co was fined more than $350,000. (Photo / File)

A juice company has been fined more than $350,000 after a worker was fatally injured after being sucked into machinery.

The Homegrown Juice Co Limited was today sentenced and fined $367,500 in Hastings District Court after a worker was fatally injured on June 15 2017.

Manpreet Kaur, 23, had been cleaning a bottle-filling machine when her arm was drawn into the rotating equipment. It continued to rotate and she died at the scene.

The sentence includes reparations of $141,635 to be paid to her widower.

A WorkSafe investigation subsequently found that the machine was not interlocked, which would have stopped it from starting while the guarding was open.

The machine had been imported from China and had not been assessed by an engineer in New Zealand, was not certified and did not comply with New Zealand standards.

Homegrown Juice Company Limited director Steve Brownlie have previously said the company was deeply saddened by the loss of one of their staff.

WorkSafe chief inspector Hayden Mander said any business that used machinery should consider the "tragic outcome" in this case.

"Interlocks are a vital protection for workers," he said.

"They are the 'fail safe' for machinery which has entanglement potential and installing one in this case could have prevented a tragic death.

"If a risk is identified in a business' operations, failing to properly manage that risk is simply unacceptable. It's unlawful, and just as importantly, failing to manage known risks exposes workers to injury or death."

Mander said workers' health and safety - not production - should be a company's first priority.

"Every business that uses machinery should consider the tragic outcome of Homegrown's failings and commit to making sure their workers will be able to go home to their families and friends healthy and safe at the end of every working day."

 

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