Company fined over $60k for log-splitter injury

  • 25/11/2015
Company fined over $60k for log-splitter injury

A Motueka firewood company has been ordered to pay more than $60,000 after one of its workers was horrifically injured after getting his hand caught by a log-splitter ram.

The worker reached into the machine to clear a piece of wood he thought was interfering with its operation in February when his leg inadvertently hit the auto-split button and activated the ram.

His hand was crushed, requiring three fingers to be amputated along with a part of his left hand, his forearm was fractured and degloved and several of his ribs were broken.

He had to wait 40 minutes without pain killers until emergency services arrived.

Firewood Direct (Motueka) Limited was fined $25,000 in the Nelson District Court today and was also ordered to pay $40,000 in reparations (plus $836 in lost earnings) after it pleaded guilty to failing to take all practicable steps to ensure an employee was kept safe at work.

The employee has not yet returned to work.

WorkSafe New Zealand's chief inspector Keith Stewart said the firewood machine did not have appropriate guards in place to stop workers accessing moving parts while it was in operation.

"If there had been proper machine guards in place he would not physically have been able to reach into the log-splitting chamber from the control booth," he said.

"Sadly yet another person now has very disabling injuries because of the dangers associated with log splitters."