New Zealand Timber Limited
Court Summary - at a glance
- Ensure the installation of effective tunnel guarding on a saw to prevent employees coming in to contact with a rotating saw blade during the cutting cycle;
- Ensure that any “knee knock” activation switch is removed from a saw;
- Ensure the installation of a shrouded foot pedal on a saw;
- Ensure that the guarding on a saw meets the requirements of the AS4024 Safety of Machinery Standard and other relevant guidance material;
- Ensure that employees wear the correct safety glasses while operating saws;
- Ensure that employees are adequately trained and supervised on the use of machinery.
The defendant company owns a rise and fall saw. A single piece of timber is fed into the saw by an operator from the right side of the plant called the in-feed position. The piece of timber passes over the saw bed. The saw blade is activated by the operator using a “knee knock” activation switch located on the front left side of the saw.
The victim became employed as a timber yard processing assistant four days before the incident.
On the day of the incident, the victim was re-cutting long timber batons to size with another worker. The victim was wearing sunglasses while working on the saw. During the processing, sawdust flicked off the blade into his eye. While wiping his eye, he inadvertently put his right hand on the saw bed over the blade slot.
As he leant forward, he accidently started the saw’s cutting cycle by hitting the “knee knock” activation switch with his leg. The saw blade rose through the blade slot as part of its cutting cycle and cut through the fingers and part of the thumb of his right hand.
As a result, the fingers and the tip of the thumb on the victim’s right hand were amputated.