UPDATED: Man's foot severed in workplace accident

By Amy McGillivray

A man whose foot was severed in an accident at the Port of Tauranga has undergone surgery but doctors did not try to reattach the appendage.

A 41-year-old Genera staff member was working in the log yard at the port about 10.30am yesterday when his foot was cut off just above the ankle by a wire rope that was part of a winch.

St John Mount Maunganui area manager Gary Bishell said the Tauranga man and his foot were transported to Tauranga Hospital via ambulance.

Hospital staff treated the man for about an hour before the the Tauranga based TrustPower TECT rescue helicopter flew him to Waikato hospital for surgery.

Pilot Liam Brettkelly said surgeons at Waikato hospital would attempt to reattach the foot.

He said the man was conscious although he was in "quite a bit of discomfort".

"He was in good spirits really although it was quite a bit of a shock," the pilot said.

Mr Brettkelly said he believed the foot was put on ice at the scene. While being flown to Waikato Hospital the foot was wrapped in a towel inside a plastic bag with ice in it. Mr Brettkelly said the man was at Waikato Hospital within two hours of the accident.

"It was just a matter of getting him there quite quickly so they had the best chance of being able to reattach it ... He's got a long road to recovery."

He said the Hamilton-based hospital had specialist surgeons better equipped to deal with such incidents.

A Waikato Hospital spokesperson said the man had surgery yesterday afternoon and was in a stable condition in a ward.

Genera Ltd fumigation, general and business development manager Mike Goss confirmed a staff member was involved in a serious accident and had suffered an accidental amputation of his foot.

He said an investigation was underway into the circumstances surrounding the accident.

Port of Tauranga corporate services manager Sara Luman said the man was not a port staff member but was working for Genera, a biosecurity treatment provider who operate on port owned land.

The scene of the accident was closed off to allow police and the Department of Labour to conduct their investigation, she said.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment communications advisor Mark Smith said three health and safety inspectors were on site investigating the accident.

The ministry investigates all workplace accidents where someone is killed or seriously injured.

Tauranga police Senior Sergeant Mark Holmes said police had been at the port but the investigation was in the hands of the ministry.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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