Budget Plastics Limited

Court Summary - at a glance

Date of offence:
6 April 2016
 
Plea:
Guilty
 
Decision:
Convicted
 
Final decision date:
 
Fine imposed:
$100,000

Safety lessons learned:
  1. Fit the Extrusion Machine with appropriate guarding/barriers;
  2. Install appropriately located emergency stops on the Extrusion Machine;
  3. Have adequate systems in place for identifying hazards in the workplace;
  4. Have an adequate safe operating procedure for using the Extrusion Machine; and
  5. Have adequate policies/processes in place for training workers in the safe use of the Extrusion Machine (ie in accordance with a settled standard operating procedure).

Defendant name:
Budget Plastics Limited
 
Industry:
Manufacturing
 
Date of offence:
6 April 2016
 
Facts in brief:
The victim was employed by the defendant company. On the day of the incident, the victim was standing on a wooden pallet, feeding waste plastic into the Extrusion Machine by picking it by hand out of a large white plastic bag in which it was contained, and tossing it into the hopper.

After the victim had picked most of the material out of the bag, there remained some scraps left in the bottom. The victim attempted to empty these by lifting the whole bag up and tipping it into the hopper. As the victim did so, part of the bag caught in the auger at the bottom of the hopper, and began being dragged into it. The victim became entangled in the bag, lost his balance and his left hand was dragged into the auger together with the bag.

Another worker saw what was happening, and was able to turn the machine off and come to the victim’s aid. The victim was air lifted to hospital where he underwent surgery for the injuries to his left hand. The auger effectively amputated the victim’s hand from his forefinger down to his wrist. The only remaining digits were his thumb and ½ his forefinger.
 
Offence section:
Sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and (2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
 
Date charged:

Court:
Palmerston North - District Court
 
Plea:
Guilty
 
Final decision date:
 
Decision:
Convicted
 
Fine imposed:
$100,000
 
Maximum fine available:
$1.5million
 
Reparation:
$37,500