Prepared Produce Limited

Court Summary - at a glance

Date of offence:
26 July 2013, 8 November 2014, 11 November 2015 and 23 January 2015
 
Plea:
• Sections 6 and 50(1)(a) (x3) and sections 25(3)(a) and 50(1)(b) (x3): Guilty
• Sections 43(1) and 50(1)(b): Withdrawn
 
Decision:
• Sections 6 and 50(1)(a) (x3) and sections 25(3)(a) and 50(1)(b) (x3): Convicted
• Sections 43(1) and 50(1)(b): Withdrawn
 
Final decision date:
 
Fine imposed:
$196,406.25 for 6 offences -
• Sections 6 and 50(1)(a): $36,562.50 (victim 1), $41,250 (victim 2), $35,062.50 (victim 3)
• Sections 25(3)(a) and 50(1)(b): $20,250 (victim 1), $27,843.75 (victim 2), $35,437.50 (victim 3)

Safety lessons learned:
  • Ensure an effective system is in place to identify and assess new and existing hazards;
  • Ensure a sufficient guard is in place to prevent an operator from accessing the hazardous area of the rotating blades on a belt slicer;
  • Ensure that the guard was fixed to prevent immediate access to the hazardous area of the rotating blades, a tool would then be required to remove the guard;
  • Install a timed interlocked device on the guard to cut the power to the belt slicer if the guard was opened and prevent access to the rotating blades until after they had de-energised and stopped rotating; 
  • Put in place a documented Safe Operating Procedure that included the steps to be taken in the event of a jam; and
  • Provide comprehensive training to employees so that operators of a belt slicer are aware of the hazards.

Defendant name:
Prepared Produce Limited
 
Industry:
Manufacturing
 
Date of offence:
26 July 2013, 8 November 2014, 11 November 2015 and 23 January 2015
 
Facts in brief:
The Defendant company operates a fruit and vegetable processing plant. The Defendant owned a belt slicer machine fitted with an infeed conveyor system which fed produce into a cutter to be sliced.

The Defendant was charged with two offences relating to an incident on 26 July 2013 when victim 1, an employee of the Defendant, was operating the belt slicer. Victim 1 went to clear a blockage on the machine. The rollers pushed victim 1’s hand into the machine and his fingers came into contact with the rotating slicer blades. Victim 1 suffered amputation of his right middle finger at the first joint and the tip of his ring finger. The Defendant failed to notify WorkSafe of this incident.

Two offences relate to an incident on 8 November 2014 when victim 2, an employee of the Defendant was operating the belt slicer. Victim 2’s hand was dragged into the belt slicer when clearing a blockage on the machine and his fingers came into contact with the rotating slicer blades. Victim 2 suffered partial amputation of their right ring, middle and index fingers. The Defendant failed to notify WorkSafe.

Two offences relate to an incident on 22 November 2014 when victim 3, an employee of the Defendant was operating a new belt slicer. When victim 3 went to clear a blockage on the belt slicer, the conveyor belt drew their hand into contact with the rotating slicer blades. Victim 3 suffered amputation of the tip of their right index and middle fingers. The Defendant failed to notify WorkSafe.

The Defendant was also charged for a breach of a prohibition notice in January 2015.
 
Offence section:
• Sections 6 and 50(1)(a) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (x3)
• Sections 25(3)(a) and 50(1)(b) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (x3)
• Sections 43(1) and 50(1)(b) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
 
Date charged:

Court:
Manukau - District Court
 
Plea:
• Sections 6 and 50(1)(a) (x3) and sections 25(3)(a) and 50(1)(b) (x3): Guilty
• Sections 43(1) and 50(1)(b): Withdrawn
 
Final decision date:
 
Decision:
• Sections 6 and 50(1)(a) (x3) and sections 25(3)(a) and 50(1)(b) (x3): Convicted
• Sections 43(1) and 50(1)(b): Withdrawn
 
Fine imposed:
$196,406.25 for 6 offences -
• Sections 6 and 50(1)(a): $36,562.50 (victim 1), $41,250 (victim 2), $35,062.50 (victim 3)
• Sections 25(3)(a) and 50(1)(b): $20,250 (victim 1), $27,843.75 (victim 2), $35,437.50 (victim 3)
 
Maximum fine available:
$250,000 per offence
 
Reparation:
$57,000 reparation for the three victims - $18,500 (victim 1), $20,000 (victim 2), $18,500 (victim 3)