A woman who was tragically killed when she was pulled into a giant wood sorting machine might be alive today if there was a safety guard, according to Worksafe.
The Government workplace health and safety regulator is issuing a plea to all companies with machinery that requires human interaction to protect workers from risk after a woman lost her life clearing a fault at Kiwi Lumber sawmill nearly two years ago.
The Masterton District Court heard the woman suffered fatal chest injuries when she was pulled into machinery the sawmill used for grading and sorting timber in November 2018.
A WorkSafe investigation found when she accessed the machine to clear a fault, it
restarted and she was pulled into the machine's sprockets.
Kiwi Lumber was this month fined $350,000 and ordered to pay a further $263,762 reparation to the victim's family.
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WorkSafe's Chief Inspector Steve Kelly said this tragic incident highlighted the need to ensure machinery was guarded.
"The worker shouldn't have been able to access the machine so easily," he said.
"Our message to all businesses is simple – if your worker has to interact with machinery then it must be guarded. The more human interaction needed around machinery, the more vital it is there is adequate guarding in place.
"This particular machine stretched across multiple buildings at the sawmill. Its sheer size
meant workers had to interact with it at different locations and it could only be restarted from one point.
"Had appropriate guarding been in place, this woman might still be alive today," he said.