An Auckland hardware store has had to pay nearly $60,000 after one of its employees lost two of his fingers while using an industrial saw.

The 16-year-old worker was admitted to hospital for just over a week following the accident in March this year.

The teenager had been using a saw which had a faulty hand guard.

His workplace, Grove Hardware Ltd - trading as Mitre 10 MEGA in Glenfield, was fined a total of $39,450 and ordered to pay $20,000 in reparation.

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The employer was sentenced yesterday in the North Shore District Court under the Health and Safety in Employment Act, for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employee.

As well as the saw having a faulty hand guard, an investigation by WorkSafe New Zealand also found that a key used to unlock the machine was accessible to all workers - when it should have been available only to selected trained staff.

Worksafe NZ chief inspector, Keith Stewart, said the employer should have made sure the hand guard was fixed and correctly installed.

"Serious workplace injuries are often caused because of inadequate machine guarding or machines not being used properly,'' he said.

"Young people in particular are at risk when using machinery and it is important that health and safety systems ensure that they are protected.''