Another conviction for unsafe meat processing company

Wednesday, 20 December, 2017

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A New Zealand company has again been sentenced over an incident at its meat processing plant, just two years after a similar incident occurred.

AFFCO New Zealand Limited was sentenced in Tauranga District Court after a worker was caught by a spreader hook and dragged along the mutton chain in January 2016.

According to Simon Humphries, WorkSafe NZ’s acting deputy general manager for Investigations and Specialist Services, the incident was very similar to one that occurred two years earlier, when a worker was impaled through the head by a spreader hook.

“After the first incident, the company failed to identify as a risk the particular piece of equipment that injured the worker in the second incident — a point particularly noted by Judge Mabey QC when he convicted the company earlier this year on the 2016 incident,” said Humphries.

“The judge said for the company to rely on the fact that the equipment concerned had not caused previous incidents, and it was not considered a hazard, was to ‘substitute their subjective views for the objective test which must be applied’.

“In this case, the victim’s injuries were not life-threatening, but that is not the point. The company knew the mutton chain had significant risks when it was operating, and appropriate risk identification and the implementation of controls would have saved him from those injuries.

“A man was unnecessarily injured because of AFFCO’s failures.”

Humphries said that AFFCO must now focus hard on identifying and controlling risks in all its operations.

Image credit: ©

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