Court Summary - at a glance

Date of offence:
10 February 2017
 
Plea:
Guilty
 
Decision:
Discharge without conviction
 
Final decision date:
 
Fine imposed:
N/A

Safety lessons learned:
  • Ensure there are effective systems in place to implement and monitor appropriate controls for the risk the nip point presented;
  • Ensure workers are isolated from the nip point by adequately guarding the hopper of the baler machine;
  • Have effective processes and procedures in place for clearing blockages on the baler machine;
  • Ensure workers are adequately trained in how to clear blockages on the baler machine.

Defendant name:
Southland Disability Enterprises Limited
 
Industry:
Waste services
 
Date of offence:
10 February 2017
 
Facts in brief:
The Defendant company is a not-for-profit business. The sole shareholder is the Southland Disability Enterprises Charitable Trust, a registered charitable trust.

The core of the Defendant’s workforce (82 of 110 workers) are disabled workers. The other workers (referred to as ‘mainstream workers’) are supervisors, process workers and/or drivers. The Defendant’s core business is recycling, and the company relies on a contract with the Ministry of Social Development, and its contract with WasteNet.

The contract with WasteNet is currently under review, with there being public interest and publicity around this review.

The victim was one of the mainstream workers. He was asked by a disabled worker to assist with the baler, which was not working properly. The victim realised that a piece of product was jammed in the hopper in which the perforator is located. The victim followed the lock-out procedure, then climbed onto the baler. He was unable to reach some of the lower bottles which were causing the blockage, and entered the chute of the hopper to reach the bottles. While standing in the hopper, the victim felt something revolve and trap his foot. He received injuries from pulling his foot out of the hopper.

Injuries – right compound fracture to his heel bone, talus, tibia, and ankle and leg fractures. Nerve damage to spine.
 
Offence section:
Sections 48(1) and 48(2)(c), and 36(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
 
Date charged:

Court:
Invercargill - District Court
 
Plea:
Guilty
 
Final decision date:
 
Decision:
Discharge without conviction
 
Fine imposed:
N/A
 
Maximum fine available:
$1.5 million
 
Reparation:
$10,000 ($15,000 having already been paid prior to sentencing) for emotional harm
$3,648.87 for consequential loss