Working Holiday Visas - how safe are they for meat workers?

Media Release : 

The NZ Meat Workers Union is questioning the safety of Holiday Visa workers temporarily employed in the meat industry after an accident involving a young German holiday worker at the Rangiuru AFFCO Talley plant on Friday, 

According to workers who witnessed the accident, the worker suffered a serious harm incident, including being knocked out, lacerations to his face and head and and damage to teeth.  The accident took place on the Mutton Slaughter chain where the worker was caught up on a spreader and was attended by Fire and Ambulance. 

“Questions need to be asked about why this inexperienced worker, apparently with only a few weeks employment, was put into one of the most dangerous parts of the Freezing Works,” says Darien Fenton, Organising Director of the NZMWU.

“The chain is a fast moving environment, with knives, mechanical equipment and stress on workers to keep up.  It is all too easy for workers to make mistakes if they think they are falling behind, and there are serious consequences.

“This is the second serious harm accident in the same area at Rangiuru in the last two years.  In 2014, an experienced worker was impaled in a similar place on the chain. This is currently subject to Worksafe prosecution. 

“Most holiday visa workers in the Meat Industry are employed in basic jobs where their safety cannot be compromised. 

“This accident on Friday should raise a red flag about the practices of employers, like AFFCO Talley’s and whether we are putting young visitors into unnecessarily dangerous work situations. 

"Worksafe, and furthermore, our government need to investigate this accident and the practices of companies like AFFCO Talley so we can assure young visitors to New Zealand that they will be protected from this kind of awful accident” says Darien Fenton. 

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  • commented 2016-01-18 16:52:49 +1300
    This is just another clear example of how a new worker who has been put in a unsafe position where they have no experience. It takes more then 1 lamb season to be moved into the position this poor overseas german person was put in…..specially at that speed

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