An employee at Timaru's Alliance Smithfield plant has had his hand severed in a workplace accident.
A Meatworkers Union Canterbury spokesman says the man was believed to have cut his hand below the wrist on Friday and was taken to hospital to clean up the wound because doctors couldn't reattach it.
"There was no opportunity to reconnect the hand," union spokesman Bill Watts says.
The accident is understood to have happened on the auger, which is a meat grinding machine.
At the time, the employee had only been in the job for three days and was working on his own.
Mr Watts says he will head to the site on Thursday to assess what had happened and until Tuesday the incident was only a rumour.
"People are pretty shocked, that's a life-changing injury."
St John say they were alerted to the incident on Friday morning and transported a man with serious injuries to hospital for further treatment.
A WorkSafe NZ spokesman says they have been told about the incident.
"WorkSafe has been notified and is investigating. We are unable to provide any further information now that an investigation is underway."
Mr Watts says the plant is running as usual and the the Alliance company are shocked by the incident considering their previously good health and safety record.