Worker lost fin­ger­tip in man­hole mishap

Nelson Mail - - News - Cherie Sivi­gnon cherie.sivi­[email protected]

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.

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