McAlpines Rotorua Limited

Court Summary - at a glance

Date of offence:
30 April 2015
 
Plea:
Guilty
 
Decision:
Convicted
 
Final decision date:
 
Fine imposed:
$36,650

Safety lessons learned:
  1. Ensure that packets of timber do not extend over the back of a tilt-hoist;
  2. Ensure that packets of timber are inspected for stability, and if unstable, remedied prior to being placed on the infeed table;
  3. Ensure that the only functions of a control switch are either “manual” or “automatic”;
  4. Ensure that safety fencing and light beams are installed on an infeed table to prevent the operator from being able to climb on; and
  5. Ensured that operators can access the straps used to hold down packets without the need to climb onto the infeed table.

Defendant name:
McAlpines Rotorua Limited
 
Industry:
Manufacturing
 
Date of offence:
30 April 2015
 
Facts in brief:
The Defendant company operates a saw mill. The Defendant owns a Newnes Auto Stacker which is used to separate packets of timber into individual pieces and then re-stack them with wooden fillets between them, in preparation for the timber to be kiln dried.

The victim was employed as a trainee Auto Stacker Infeed Operator (also referred to as a Tilt-hoist Operator). On the day of the incident, the victim had been working in his role for six weeks. When the victim was feeding two packets of timber onto the tilt-hoist, he cut the bottom straps of the lower packet and the timber did not separate as it should have. The victim then climbed onto the horizontal bars on the adjacent in-feed table and cut further straps. The timber from the bottom packet then collapsed on top of him. The machine then activated due to the proximity sensor being triggered resulting in the victim being crushed between further packets of timber as they moved towards the tilt hoist.

The victim had several hundred kilograms of timber fall on top of him. He was then crushed between further moving packets when the falling timber triggered a proximity sensor, sending more packets forward. He suffered a skull fracture, broken clavicle, broken ribs and a subsequent stroke.
 
Offence section:
Sections 6 and 50(1)(a) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
 
Date charged:

Court:
Rotorua - District Court
 
Plea:
Guilty
 
Final decision date:
 
Decision:
Convicted
 
Fine imposed:
$36,650
 
Maximum fine available:
$250,000
 
Reparation:
$40,000