Driver par­tially am­pu­tates fin­ger


A loader driver who par­tially am­pu­tated a fin­ger when he tried to close a win­dow and hit a bump at Spicer Land­fill was one of 28 in­juries suf­fered by coun­cil work­ers in the past year.

A re­port to Porirua City Coun­cil’s au­dit and risk com­mit­tee in June con­tained a health and safety brief­ing that noted a to­tal of 69 in­ci­dents, in­clud­ing nearmisses, over the past year to March 31.

It found two no­ti­fi­able events dur­ing the first few months of this year, events where se­ri­ous harm may have oc­curred and needed to be re­ported to Work­safe NZ.

The worst in­volved a con­trac­tor who tried to close a win­dow while driv­ing a loader at the land­fill on a late-af­ter­noon in Fe­bru­ary.

‘‘To do this he put his right hand on the win­dow sill and used his left hand to shut the win­dow,’’ the re­port said.

‘‘The loader went over a bump which caused the win­dow to slam shut re­sult­ing in par­tial am­pu­ta­tion of his mid­dle fin­ger on his right hand.’’

The con­trac­tor closed the scene and did an in­ves­ti­ga­tion with Work­Safe NZ. As a re­sult, the con­trac­tor has re­placed the miss­ing win­dow clo­sure han­dle and re­fresher train­ing was given to staff.

The worker was back at work on a re­turn to work plan, and work­ing with an oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pist along with ACC to get back to full­time em­ploy­ment.

The sec­ond in­ci­dent in­volved a con­trac­tor who was dig­ging a post-hole with a kango ham­mer at Kura Park at Ti­tahi Bay when he dam­aged an elec­tri­cal cable on the morn­ing of Jan­uary 25.

‘‘This had the po­ten­tial to cause elec­tric shock un­der slightly dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances and Work­Safe were no­ti­fied,’’ the re­port said.

Work­Safe NZ did not re­quest any fur­ther in­for­ma­tion, how­ever the coun­cil vol­un­tar­ily un­der­took to do a duty holder re­view, which is Work­Safe NZ’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion form, to learn any lessons.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion high­lighted the need for the con­trac­tor to use a cable lo­ca­tor for any ex­ca­va­tion work, which has been spec­i­fied as a re­quire­ment for any ex­ca­va­tion work un­der­taken for the coun­cil.

The coun­cil’s prin­ci­pal health and safety ad­vi­sor, Scott Mar­tin, said it took any in­ci­dent se­ri­ously and viewed any near-miss as a learn­ing op­por­tu­nity to put steps in place to en­sure it didn’t turn into an in­ci­dent.

The lost time due to in­juries over the pe­riod was 0.86 per cent of full­time em­ploy­ees, com­pared with the most re­cently pub­lished na­tional av­er­age of 11.01 per cent.

‘‘While we aim for zero in­jury, lost time and near-miss in­ci­dents, a re­duc­tion in in­ci­dents over­all shows that we are mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion.’’

Two lost-time in­ci­dents in­volved a staff mem­ber who was try­ing to turn a valve on with a basin span­ner when it slipped off the valve, caus­ing a cut to their lit­tle fin­ger re­sult­ing in four hours off work.

The other in­volved some­one lift­ing a heavy item when they lost grip and dropped it, caus­ing a steel piece to hit their an­kle, re­quir­ing 11 hours off work.


Spicer Land­fill, where a loader driver am­pu­tated part of his fin­ger while work­ing.

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