Meat processing company Affco has been fined $46,000 on Tuesday following an incident relating to an offal spill in 2015.
A worker at the company's plant in Imlay, Whanganui, was cleaning up an offal spill when some raw material was squirted into his eye.
A month later the worker became "extremely ill" with an acute bacterial infection known to be carried by animals.
"He required emergency cardiac surgery and both his aortic and mitral valves were replaced by mechanical valves," WorkSafe said in a statement on Wednesday.
An investigation by WorkSafe found the worker wasn't wearing safety glasses or a face shield at the time he was cleaning up the spill.
Previous to the incident, Affco had highlighted the risk such infections presented in its hazards register, WorkSafe said.
Despite this, the company failed to implement control measures to ensure the safety of workers.
"A worker facing a life-threatening infection was the result of a spill of 10 tonnes of offal," said Danielle Henry, WorkSafe's acting chief inspector.
"Affco should have stopped and considered the safety of its workers before the clean-up began. This includes ensuring they were all wearing safety glasses and/or face shields."
Henry said the incident could easily have been avoided if the company had met its obligations to workers' safety.
The company received the fine on Wednesday in the Whanganui District Court.
It was also ordered to pay $50,000 in reparations as well as $4000 in consequential losses.