Waste Management to pay $50k to worker who suffered severe injuries when arm got caught in tyre shredder

Waste Management NZ has been fined $400,000 and ordered to pay $50,000 to a worker who suffered severe injuries to his arm when it got caught in a machine used to shred tyres.

The man was operating the tyre shredder in November 2017 at the Waste Management site in Kerepehi, in the Waikato. Source: 1 NEWS

The man was operating the tyre shredder in November 2017 in Kerepehi, Waikato, when his arm got trapped as he was trying to remove debris which was obstructing the conveyor belt to the shredder.

He was unable to activate the emergency stop, but eventually managed to free his arm.

The man suffered a broken forearm and a degloving injury, where a large section of skin is torn off, severing blood supply.

The subsequent WorkSafe investigation found guarding was missing from the conveyor belt which fed tyres into the machine, after it had been removed for modification.

Despite having no guarding, the machine was still in use.

WorkSafe’s area manager Danielle Henry there were a number of failings.

“There was an emergency stop button, but its location meant it couldn’t be reached if a worker became trapped in the machine, which is what happened in this incident,” she said.

“As well as this at the time of the incident the victim was operating the machine alone, when there should have been adequate supervision to assist in the case of an emergency.”

WorkSafe said a robust safe system of work like as lock out tag out would have meant the machine could not operate while the guarding was being modified.

“Businesses need to quit removing the very guarding that is in place to keep people safe. Waste Management NZ Limited should not have allowed this machine to be used without guarding or safe processes in place,” Henry said.

“Its failure to implement these simple safety measures has left a worker with severe injuries.”