Cottonsoft sentenced following WorkSafe investigation

Cottonsoft ordered to pay $360,000 in fines and reparations after factory worker was injured in January 2017.

Toilet paper manufacturer Cottonsoft has been ordered to pay $360,000 in fines and reparations after a worker was injured at its East Tamaki factory in January 2017.

Cottonsoft was sentenced this week in the Manukau District Court after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The company was fined $315,000 and ordered to pay $45,000 in reparations to the worker.

The worker sustained crush injuries, degloving and lacerations after his arms were caught in rollers. He also sustained rib fractures in the incident and was left with long-term side effects requiring further surgery.

WorkSafe said the investigation into the incident found guarding on the machinery departed significantly from current industry standards, and while the risks had been identified during previous risk assessments, no long-term or interim solutions had been put in place.

“This worker was needlessly injured by a risk that had been identified – but not mitigated effectively,” WorkSafe head of specialist interventions, Simon Humphries said.

“There is so much information and guidance available to companies and it must be implemented. Now is the time to stop and assess your machinery and stop an accident before it occurs. Do this before you find yourself with an injured worker and under the scrutiny of an investigation.”

A Cottonsoft spokesperson said staff safety is the company’s top priority.

“We are disappointed that we failed to prevent an injury to one of our team members, and have made substantial investments in our people, plan and processes to ensure that will not happen again.”

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