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Company fined $332,000 after worker's fingertips cut off in mincing machine

The meat manufacturing company of a worker whose fingertips were cut off by a mincing machine have been fined for failure to safely guard its machinery and properly train staff.

Alliance Group Limited was sentenced at Invercargill District Court today, and fined almost $332,000 as a result of the January 2018 incident in which one of its workers had the tips of their fingers amputated while cleaning the mincer box of a beef boning machine.

Following the incident the worker was unable to locate anyone to assist them on site, and had to drive to Gore Hospital for medical assistance which was more than a 12km away, WorkSafe said in a statement today.

An investigation by WorkSafe found the lid of the mincer box wasn’t secure and the worker had not received adequate training to clean the machine. There were also no written procedures for the operation or clean-up of the machine.

WorkSafe Chief Inspector Investigations Steve Kelly says several health and safety failings led to this incident, which will continue to impact the worker for the rest of their life.

"This incident could have been avoided simply by placing a padlock over the mincer lid to secure it, or by ensuring workers were provided with adequate training and supervision," he says.

"The risks associated with unguarded moving parts of machinery in the meat processing industry are obvious and well-known. However, machine guarding failures in the industry continue to cause significant injuries to workers and it’s unacceptable."

Alliance Group Limited was fined $332,000 last year after an incident at one of its other plants where a workers hand was amputated on machinery used for dehydrating blood into powder.

File picture. Source: istock.com