Worker lost fingertip in manhole mishap
A Tasman District Council staff member had the tip of his left index finger severed by a falling manhole lid.
The fingertip was unable to be reattached after the incident in Motueka on November 2.
Council activity planning manager Dwayne Fletcher yesterday told the engineering services committee that one of his staff was inspecting the manhole at a new subdivision in Motueka ‘‘and essentially lost his . . . finger when the manhole came down’’.
A staff report says the incident happened when a bar the staff member was using to lift the manhole lid ‘‘slipped off’’.
‘‘The staff member is recovering well and returned to part-time work within a few days.’’
The incident was the most serious of four recorded health and safety incidents in November.
An investigation followed, and the process and equipment used to open manhole lids was changed, including the use of a longer bar, the report says.
Fletcher told councillors he believed it was the first notifiable incident the council had had ‘‘for a decade or more’’.
In another incident, an earthworks roller overturned at the Eves Valley landfill on November 20, with the operator receiving a blow to the head. The operator returned to work the next day.
The report says WorkSafe has been notified, and Fulton Hogan and Taylors Contracting are investigating the incident. ‘‘All earthworks have been suspended until the investigation is complete.’’
WorkSafe senior external communications adviser Emma Reilly said the Crown agency was notified about both incidents ‘‘and are not investigating, as neither reaches our threshold to do so’’.
The council staff report also outlines details of two non-injury events involving kerbside recycling collections that left the drivers shaken.
On November 14, there was a ‘‘near-hit’’ along the Coastal Highway when a car veered past a stationary collection vehicle on the left side – the side from which the driver alighted.
Council utilities manager Mike Schruer said the council had written to householders in the area to advise them that collections had been suspended while options were being considered. ‘‘Some people are not very happy about it.’’
A week after that incident, a northbound logging truck clipped a kerbside recycling truck that had stopped on Main Road Hope.
In light of both incidents, the council will review the safety of collections on state highways with the contractor and transportation staff. ‘‘There is a possibility that we may have to withdraw services for a small number of properties,’’ the report said.