A Hawke's Bay company has been fined $275,000 after a worker's leg was crushed and had to be amputated.
WorkSafe is now warning businesses that rely on workers to manage risky work, that they should also implement current and effective risk management plans.
Hawkes Bay steel plate cutting company CNC Profile Cutting Services Ltd was fined $275,000 on Friday in the Hastings District Court after a November 2017 incident in which a worker's leg was crushed by a package of steel being moved by a gantry crane.
The worker's right leg had to be amputated below the knee as a result.
CNC Profile Cutting Services had faced a charge laid under sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and (2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. The maximum penalty for the charge was $1.5 million.
The company was also ordered to pay reparations of $87,497.70 and costs of $7,380.58
WorkSafe Investigation area manager Casey Broad said the company's documentation was generalised and did not include a safe system of work documents for the method being used in this case known as "slinging".
''There was too much reliance on on-the-job training and instruction to manage hazards,'' Broad said.
''There had been an earlier near-miss incident with the system and involving the victim, and that should have been a warning to the business that their systems needed review and updating.''
CNC Profile Cutting Services responded that the worker
had been given a verbal correction on the importance of correctly balancing a load before
lifting following the near-miss, as agreed by WorkSafe.
CNC said the use of a verbal correction was in accordance with WorkSafe guidance on training and supervision.
The worker had been moving a 2289kg package of steel to a laser cutter, using his body weight to counterbalance the load. CNC says this was contrary to his training.
As the victim lowered the heavy end of the package to the ground the whole package tilted to an almost vertical position and slipped out of the strop holding it and fell trapping his right ankle and foot.
''Effective hazard identification and management, good training, and supervision of risky work were not being employed by the company and as a result, the victim has suffered life-changing injuries that should not have happened,'' Broad said.
CNC told Hawkes Bay Today it asked WorkSafe to review CNC's systems in 2016 after a routine audit, but WorkSafe declined.
CNC says the judge took into account that the company has never had
any other serious injury in 19 years of operation.