Marsden Pt company, CFGC Forest Managers, fined $180,000 after worker injured while debarking

The A5 debarker outfeed rollers at Marsden Point where a worker was injured. Photo / Supplied

A forest management and export company has been fined $180,000 after a machine operator suffered serious injuries while operating a debarker machine at Marsden Point.

WorkSafe laid a charge against CFGC Forest Managers (NZ) Ltd and Newey Machinery Ltd in respect of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, which carries a maximum fine of $1.5 million.

CFGC is a subsidiary of China Forestry Group New Zealand Company Ltd, which exports logs from New Zealand to China.

Newey Machinery was incorporated in October 2020 solely for the purpose of contracting to CFGC to run an A4 debarker at Northport. CFGC owned an A5 and an A7 debarker. The victim was engaged to operate the A5 debarker as an operator.


Advertise with NZME.

His name and identifying details have been suppressed.

On June 23, 2021, the victim and another worker were working together debarking logs using the A5 debarker. The victim was at the infeed end of the debarker and the other worker at the outfeed end. A log was loaded into the debarker that did not come out. The victim went to stand by the outfeed rollers to check for air leaks.

As the other worker started the rollers, the victim reached into the gap between the upper and lower rollers, and that activated the mechanism to close the rollers. The rollers closed and trapped the victim’s wrist. The rollers caught the skin on the forearm and peeled back a triangular-shaped section. The victim suffered a compound grade 2 Galeazzi fracture of his forearm that required surgery and plates. He also suffered a dislocated wrist.

Judge John McDonald has ordered CFGC Forest Managers NZ Ltd to pay a fine of $180,000 after a workplace injury. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Judge John McDonald has ordered CFGC Forest Managers NZ Ltd to pay a fine of $180,000 after a workplace injury. Photo / Michael Cunningham

The A5 debarker was assessed by an expert post accident and it was determined it was not adequately guarded to protect operators from the significant hazards associated with the moving parts of the machine.


Advertise with NZME.

The expert said it appeared the outfeed rollers, which were the cause of the injury to the worker, were relatively accessible while the machine was still at least partially energised and thus in a hazardous state.

The victim told WorkSafe he had never operated machinery like the debarker before and his previous experience involved diggers, tractors, loaders and logging trucks and operating a chainsaw

WorkSafe investigations revealed there were no documented procedures for the setup or operation of the A5 debarker.

“It is vital that any business bringing new machinery into the country does its due diligence to bring the equipment into line with New Zealand safety standards. Get the right experts and advice to ensure none of your workers is exposed to the type of danger seen in this incident,” WorkSafe area investigation manager Danielle Henry said.

“About 80 per cent of acute work-related injuries involve machinery and equipment. Protecting people from machines is a priority for WorkSafe, and we are increasing our focus and enforcement activity in this area.”

The Whangarei District Court imposed a $200,000 fine on Newey Machinery in December but it was reduced to nil after the company became insolvent and ceased trading.

In court last Friday, Judge John McDonald ordered CFGC to pay emotional harm reparation of $10,000 and a fine of $180,000.

Neither of the companies had previous convictions for health and safety offences nor received notices from WorkSafe prior to the incident at Marsden Point.

Source link

Leave a Reply