Focus shifts to upstream PCBUs

Health and Safety / 19 June 2019
Focus shifts to upstream PCBUs

MMD Engineering Limited has been the first designer and manufacturer of machinery to be sentenced under the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA).  This comes two months after WorkSafe NZ foreshadowed a further focus on upstream PCBU’s discussed here.

WorkSafe NZ v MMD Engineering Ltd [2019]

MMD designed and manufactured a log splitter.  The machine lacked adequate guarding and did not have safety features such as interlocks and a locking safety latch.  The log splitter was installed in the workplace of Davies Tree Service Limited (Davies Tree).  Davies Tree then removed what limited guarding there already was.

A Davies Tree employee amputated four fingers in the log splitter after attempting to remove a jammed log.

The Judge held the machine was not designed or manufactured to meet the appropriate health and safety standards.  There were significant failures from both parties.  MMD was fined $75,000.

Messages for Employers

When accepting work, designers and manufacturers must understand and implement health and safety industry standards for the safe design of machinery.  Failures from upstream PCBUs do not have to be systemic for WorkSafe NZ to consider enforcement action as was previously indicated.

WorkSafe NZ’s position is that it is more efficient and effective to prevent risks at the design, manufacturing, import or supply stage.

Disclaimer: We remind you that while this article provides commentary on employment law and health and safety topics, it should not be used as a substitute for legal or professional advice for specific situations. Please seek legal advice from your lawyer for any questions specific to your workplace.


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