A New Zealand woman whose arm was trapped in an industrial biscuit oven for 40 minutes has been awarded a NZ$45,000 payout. Wellington District Court heard the woman suffered “mutilating” injuries after her overalls became caught as she was cleaning the oven.
She was only freed from the oven, which is usually operating at between 85C and 180C, when the machinery was dismantled. Work safety officials said an ambulance was not called for 20 minutes. The ambulance crew also got lost on their way to the factory, meaning the woman had no pain relief for 40 minutes, WorkSafe New Zealand added. She suffered severe burns, skin loss and muscle loss, and has had surgery three times for skin grafts and to remove dead tissue, and is expecting to have further muscle transplants.
The court found there were no proper procedures in place for cleaning the oven and that safety guards had been left open. “Had the guard been in place, then the victim’s hand would not have been caught and ultimately burnt,” said WorkSafe’s Chief Inspector Keith Stewart.
The Meycov Food Limited, trading as Rutherford & Meyer, was also fined NZ$12,500.