Napier meatworks fined nearly $300k after woman's hand trapped in machinery for 10 minutes

A worker at a Napier meatworks may never have full use of her hand again after it was trapped in machinery for 10 minutes. 

Inside a meatworks Source: Breakfast

Her employer has been sentenced over a failure in safety measures which led to the serious injury.

Fresh Meats NZ Limited was sentenced at the Napier District Court on Friday and ordered to pay over $253,000 in fines and $40,000 in reparation after the worker's hand was caught in machinery.

Following a WorkSafe investigation, it was found the machinery was unguarded.

Had it been, the woman's injuries could have been avoided. 

In November 2018, at the meatworks which slaughters and processes more than 250,000 lambs a year, the woman was cleaning the chains used to move carcasses when her arm became trapped in the moving parts.

It took her co-workers 10 minutes to help remove her injured right hand from the machinery, and as a result she suffered severe injuries.

She may never have full use of the hand again. 

"Though a task instruction sheet prepared by the company clearly stated that machinery should only be cleaned when it was turned off, our investigation found it was common practice for staff to clean the machinery while it was moving," WorkSafe acting chief inspector Danielle Henry said in a statement today.

"Fresh Meats NZ Limited had gone so far as to identify a hazard, but then did not make sure the safe system of work was in place. Writing down a health and safety plan is one thing, but it must be implemented."