Company fined after worker's arm injured in pasta maker

By Hana Garrett-Walker

File photo / Thinkstock
File photo / Thinkstock

A Tauranga company which was fined $20,000 after an employee got his arm trapped in a pasta maker has remained in contact with the worker and says the job is open to him.

Tauranga company Allegro Limited, which owns Volare Restaurant, was yesterday (Tue) fined $20,000 and ordered to pay reparations of $6000 when it appeared in the Tauranga District Court.

A Frenchman, in New Zealand on his OE [overseas experience], had been working at the restaurant as a kitchen hand for about seven months when he was preparing pasta in an industrial-sized mixer.

As he lifted the lid to check the mix, his arm became caught around the mixing rod and before he could stop the machine he received multiple fractures, soft tissue damage and tendon and nerve damage to his left arm.

The machine's interlock switch was broken, meaning it did not automatically stop when the lid was opened.

The company's directors today (Wed) said it was an "unfortunate accident".

"It was obviously a very regrettable incident that occurred and we did all we could. We've done all we could since then. We've taken out the actual machine and replaced it with a new one."

The company's spokesman said the incident had been dealt with accordingly and they were happy to have it behind them.

"He's a lovely little kid, he was a great worker, it was obviously very sad what happened. The positives are that we remain in contact, the job offer's open to him should he decide to come back."

After spending another couple of months in the country after the accident, the worker returned to France where he is now completing chef training.

"We felt very remorseful about what actually happened, we supported him and his family throughout the ordeal.

"His mother came over from France and we supported them when they were here."

The spokesman said the business would "trade through" the fine.

"It's just good to have it behind us to move forward. It was the not knowing which was causing more angst."

Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment northern general manager John Howard said it was easy to forget that a commercial kitchen could be a dangerous workplace.

"It is the duty of the employer to ensure that all hazards are identified and managed to ensure the safety of staff, with a hazard register and written safe operating procedures."

- APNZ

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