'Significant' eye injury caused by avo company's oversights

Thu, Mar 2

An avocado company has been found guilty and sentenced after a worker suffered a "significant" eye injury at an orchard in April 2021.

The worker and a supervisor were repairing orchard fencing when a high-tensile wire snapped, striking the worker's left eye, Worksafe said today. The 20-year-old required two surgeries and his vision is permanently impaired, the regulator added.

"WorkSafe's investigation into the incident found the business failed to train and supervise workers and didn't monitor the safe use of PPE when workers were carrying out work.

"The business had no formal process in place to ensure workers were wearing PPE, leaving supervisors to instead fill that gap by managing the wearing of PPE in the field," the regulator found.

And there had been a close call similar to the accident just a month before, which wasn't reported at the time, the investigation found.

"The victim, who was a trainee, had seen others including supervisors not using protective eyewear during fencing jobs and neither the victim nor their supervisor had been wearing safety glasses at the time of the incident."

Mapua Avocados Ltd were ordered to pay the victim reparations of $62,185.