Waikato based Industrial Tube Manufacturing Company was fined $39,375 and ordered to pay reparations of $15,000 on 20 August 2014 over an accident involving a modified machine for shaping steel tubing.
Jonathan Vink was contracted to work as a general machine operator at Industrial Tube’s Hamilton manufacturing base in October 2013. He had his index finger amputated above the first joint after it was crushed in a ‘swaging machine.’ His hand was near the moving parts of the machine when he lost concentration and activated the foot lever to run the machine, and crushed his finger.
The swaging machine had been modified six months before the accident, so that it could handle longer lengths of steel. The modifications left unguarded parts of the machine exposed.
At the time of the accident the swaging machine had no guarding in place to protect workers from moving parts when working with four-metre lengths of tubing, as Mr Vink was doing at the time he was injured.
Industrial Tube was convicted under sections 18 and 50 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of Mr Vink.
WorkSafe New Zealand’s Chief Investigator, Keith Stewart, says Industrial Tube should have fitted proper guards to the machine to stop workers accessing its dangerous moving parts while operating it.
“The company should have done a full hazard assessment following the modification work. That would have identified the risk posed by a lack of proper guards. An emergency stop button should also have been installed.
“Accidents with unguarded or inadequately guarded machines are all too common. This conviction and fine is a reminder to all companies to take their obligations seriously and ensure there machines are safe to use,” says Keith Stewart.