McKechnie Aluminium Solutions Limited

Court Summary - at a glance

Date of offence:
23 May 2014
 
Plea:
Guilty
 
Decision:
Convicted
 
Final decision date:
 
Fine imposed:
$33,000

Safety lessons learned:
  1. Have an effective system for training and monitoring the health and safety performance of emplyoees to eliminate high risk practices such as leaning over the casting table.
  2. Have appropriate PPE gear made available in accordance with Wagstaff (manufacturer) manuals and industry guidelines, and ensure it is being used.

Defendant name:
McKechnie Aluminium Solutions Limited
 
Industry:
Manufacturing
 
Date of offence:
23 May 2014
 
Facts in brief:
The defendant company conducts business of casting and manufacturing aluminium. The victim was employed as the aluminium foundry department team coordinator. The re-melt foundry department makes aluminium logs and billets. The process of making aluminium is as follows:

a) Aluminium is melted in a gas furnace;
b) Once melted, the molten aluminium flows into a launder and down through a dropper spout;
c) From here it goes into another launder and through to the casting table.

The casting table contained molten aluminium which could reach temperatures in excess of 700°C. On the day of the incident, the casting table was set up and the first pour started. The casting table was filling up with molten aluminium when the victim sent another worker around the other side to start prodding the moulds to ensure the butt of the log was going down.

The victim then heard a hissing sound and went to investigate by standing on the grated platform. As he prepared to prod the mould with a steel rod, an explosion occurred causing a serious burn to the victim’s foot and superficial burns to his left hand, arm, chest, and head.

The victim underwent skin graft surgery on his left foot and undertook physiotherapy for mobility post burns.
 
Offence section:
Section 6 and section 50(1)(a) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act
 
Date charged:

Court:
New Plymouth - District Court
 
Plea:
Guilty
 
Final decision date:
 
Decision:
Convicted
 
Fine imposed:
$33,000
 
Maximum fine available:
$250,000
 
Reparation:
$15,000