Nelson, New Zealand-based Waimea Sawmillers fined NZ$52,500 after worker falls four meters from machinery lacking full edge protection, suffers serious injuries including traumatic brain injury

WELLINGTON, New Zealand , December 5, 2012 (press release) – Waimea Sawmillers Ltd, a sawmilling company based in Nelson, was fined $52,500 today following an accident in which a contractor suffered multiple serious injuries.

The contractor suffered a traumatic brain injury and fractures to his skull, face and wrist, amongst other injuries, during the incident in February this year, in which he fell approximately four metres from machinery onto a concrete floor. The company was ordered to pay reparations of $20,000 to the contractor.

An investigation by the Ministry’s health and safety staff found the machinery did not have full edge protection.

Francois Barton, General Manager, Southern Division, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, said: “This incident could have been prevented with edge protection. Too many serious accidents and fatalities occur because no adequate edge protection is in place.

“Our best practice guidelines state that barriers should be used to cordon off elevated areas including roofs, balconies and open excavations where edge protection is not provided and people are not permitted access. The barriers should be secure and with access restricted to authorised people only. Signs should warn against entry to a cordoned-off area. It is essential that all employers and employees understand the hazards associated with working at height and information and guidance material is available on the Ministry’s website.”

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