A Countdown operator has been fined $45,000 after a deli worker had to have her thumb amputated after she sliced it while deboning a ham.

In February the deli assistant manager at Countdown Birkenhead was deboning a ham on an automated slicer when her thumb hit the blade.

Her thumb had to be amputated as a result of the incident.

The supermarket's operator General Distributors was yesterday fined $45,000 because it failed to take all practicable steps to ensure the employer was not exposed to hazards, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment spokesman John Howard said.

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The incident could have been avoided through the use of guarding, he said.

General Distributors was also ordered to pay reparations of $5000.