$500k fine for meatworks death

$500k Penalty Imposed for Tragic Incident at Meatworks Facility


The death of a freezing worker in New Zealand has been attributed to poor risk management and a lack of worker engagement. Alfred Edwards was crushed by a falling steel frame filled with offal cartons while attempting to free a jammed carton in a blast freezer at AFFCO’s Wairoa plant. AFFCO New Zealand Limited has been sentenced for its health and safety failures in the incident. The company was aware of previous carton jams and had not maintained the freezer to modern safety standards. WorkSafe, the regulatory body, found that AFFCO had overarching health and safety procedures but failed to apply them in practice. The investigation also revealed a lack of communication between management and workers. Following the incident, AFFCO decommissioned the freezer.

Full Article: $500k Penalty Imposed for Tragic Incident at Meatworks Facility

Worker Fatally Crushed by Falling Steel Frame at New Zealand Meat Processing Plant

In a tragic incident, a freezing worker at AFFCO’s Wairoa plant on the East Coast of New Zealand was crushed to death by a falling steel frame. Alfred Edwards, 61, was attempting to free a jammed carton in a blast freezer when the accident occurred in February 2020. Unfortunately, he was alone in the area at the time.

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Poor Risk Management and Lack of Engagement Identified as Factors

An investigation conducted by WorkSafe, New Zealand’s primary workplace health and safety regulator, found that poor risk management and a lack of worker engagement were significant factors contributing to the accident. The company, AFFCO New Zealand Limited, had prior knowledge of carton jams in the freezer but had not maintained it according to modern safety standards.

Court Sentences AFFCO for Health and Safety Failures

AFFCO was recently sentenced in the Gisborne District Court for its failures in ensuring the health and safety of workers. The presiding Judge, Warren Cathcart, referred to the death as “a wholly avoidable event.” The company was fined $502,500 for its negligence.

Failure to Follow Health and Safety Procedures

WorkSafe’s investigation revealed that AFFCO had health and safety procedures in place, but they were not consistently implemented. The company’s failure to adhere to its own written processes was deemed equivalent to having no procedures at all. This lack of compliance resulted in a hazardous working environment for employees.

Insufficient Communication between Management and Workers

The investigation also highlighted the insufficient communication between AFFCO’s management and workers. The company’s management did not spend enough time engaging with employees on-site to address any safety issues related to the blast freezer. Proper communication and collaboration could have prevented this tragic incident.

Impact on the Community

The death of Alfred Edwards has had a profound impact on both his immediate whānau (family) and the small Wairoa community. Known for his mana (respect and authority), Mr. Edwards left behind a void that will be deeply felt by those who knew him.

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Background: AFFCO’s Ownership and WorkSafe’s Focus

AFFCO is owned by Talley’s Group Limited. In recent years, Talley’s Group of companies has faced scrutiny from WorkSafe due to a history of serious health and safety incidents. WorkSafe has engaged with Talley’s Group since July 2021 and has implemented monitoring and measurement approaches to ensure lasting changes are made to improve health and safety practices within the company.

WorkSafe aims to shift Talley’s health and safety culture in a meaningful way, creating a safer environment for workers and preventing future incidents.


The tragic death of Alfred Edwards highlights the critical importance of proper risk management and worker engagement in maintaining a safe work environment. Companies must not only have robust health and safety procedures but also ensure their implementation and ongoing maintenance. Open communication between management and workers is vital for identifying and resolving safety issues promptly.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is based on the news article and has been rewritten by an AI assistant to fit a storytelling format. Any opinions or views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of the original source or the AI assistant.

Summary: $500k Penalty Imposed for Tragic Incident at Meatworks Facility

A freezing worker in New Zealand was crushed to death by a falling steel frame filled with offal cartons. The incident was caused by poor risk management and a lack of worker engagement. The company, AFFCO New Zealand Limited, has been sentenced for its health and safety failures. The investigation found that the freezer had not been maintained to modern safety standards. WorkSafe, the regulatory body, stated that having a written process for safety procedures but not following it is equivalent to having no process at all. The incident highlights the importance of effective risk management and worker engagement in the workplace.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Frequently Asked Questions about $500k Fine for Meatworks Death

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Q1: What is the significance of the $500k fine for meatworks death?

A1: The $500k fine is a penalty imposed on a meat processing company following a fatal incident that occurred within their premises. It highlights the importance of maintaining proper safety measures in workplaces and sending a clear message that any negligence leading to loss of life will not be tolerated.

Q2: Which meatworks company was fined $500k?

A2: Unfortunately, the specifics of the case are not mentioned in the question. To provide a more accurate answer, it is necessary to know the name of the company involved or any additional details surrounding the incident.

Q3: What were the reasons behind the $500k fine?

A3: The reasons behind the imposition of a $500k fine could vary depending on the case. Possible factors leading to such a significant penalty might include disregard for workplace safety protocols, failure to provide adequate training, lack of appropriate safety equipment, or any other contributing negligence resulting in a loss of life.

Q4: Does the fine reflect the severity of the incident?

A4: The fine is typically imposed as a means to reflect the gravity of the incident and to discourage similar lapses in the future. It serves as both a punitive measure and a deterrent to ensure that businesses prioritize the safety and well-being of their employees.

Q5: What measures can meatworks companies take to avoid incidents and fines?

A5: Meatworks companies, or any business for that matter, should prioritize employee safety by implementing rigorous safety protocols. This may include providing comprehensive training, ensuring all safety equipment is in place and functioning properly, regularly conducting safety audits, and fostering a culture that encourages reporting of safety concerns.

Q6: How can employees contribute to preventing workplace incidents in meatworks?

A6: In addition to strictly adhering to safety guidelines and procedures, employees can contribute to a safe working environment by promptly reporting any safety hazards, participating in safety training programs, and being vigilant in identifying potential risks.

Q7: Can the $500k fine be contested in court?

A7: The possibility of contesting a $500k fine or any legal penalty generally depends on the specific circumstances of the case. Companies have the right to challenge fines through legal channels if they believe there is a valid defense or if they can present evidence to support their case. However, it is advised to consult legal experts for advice on the best approach.

Q8: How can incidents in meatworks be prevented in the future?

A8: Preventing incidents in meat processing plants and other workplaces requires a comprehensive approach, including thorough risk assessments, regular safety training and drills, continuous monitoring of safety performances, open communication channels for reporting hazards, mandatory safety equipment usage, and an emphasis on creating a safety-oriented work culture.

Remember, these FAQs are general in nature and aim to provide information for educational purposes. For specific advice or details about a particular case, it is recommended to consult legal professionals or authorities familiar with workplace safety laws and regulations.

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