Keep it safe when sourcing replacement parts

27/11/2014 21:22


26 November 2014

Dunedin company Keep It Clean Limited has been fined $55,000 and ordered to pay reparation of $50,000 after a worker was seriously injured at its meat rendering plant.

Stuart Morgan was hospitalised for 12 days and was off work for seven and a half months after he was struck in the back by the internal lid from a tallow spinner, which had been thrown out of the machine at high speed. He suffered serious lacerations, fractures and a punctured lung.

A WorkSafe New Zealand investigation found that the 32 kg internal lid (and the latches used to secure it) was not fit for purpose. The steel lid was manufactured and installed by a Keep It Clean employee as the internal lid was missing when the tallow spinner was purchased second hand.

The tallow spinner was over-loaded at the time of the incident. The internal lid was thrown out of the machine after it broke loose and the external lid (which had only been secured by three out of eight available latches) flew open.

Keep It Clean was today sentenced in the Dunedin District Court for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of an employee under sections 6 and 50 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

WorkSafe’s chief investigator Keith Stewart says sourcing replacement parts for potentially dangerous machinery is not something to be taken lightly.

“The new internal lid should have been designed and installed to the manufacturer’s specifications. The replacement lid and the latches used to secure it were substandard and contributed to the serious injuries suffered by the victim. Machinery owners need to ensure that appropriately qualified engineers are involved in the maintenance, repair and modification of plant.

“It’s not good enough to just whip something up and hope it will do the job.

“The company also failed to implement a safe operating procedure for the tallow spinners, which should have included guides to show maximum load levels. Its hazard identification process and staff training were also found wanting.

“Mr Morgan paid a high price for Keep It Clean’s all too casual approach,” says Keith Stewart.