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A slaughterhouse worker whose head was impaled on a hook, leaving him hanging in the air for an hour, has recalled the horrifying workplace injury.Jason Matahiki, known as Whopper, was cleaning New Zealand's Rangiuru Affco meat plant in August 2014 when the 10cm hook hit his skull and came out under his eye, dragging him in the air.
The company responsible for the meat plant – Affco New Zealand - was sentenced and fined $55,000 on Wednesday after being found guilty of failing to follow safety rules, reports NZ Herald.
Mr Matahiki, 44, said it's been a rough road recovering from the freak accident two years ago, which nearly caused permanent brain damage.
'I have nightmares, a sore head, headaches, I hardly sleep. Sometimes I hardly eat. Sometimes the pain is so unbearable. My recovery? It was a joke.'
He was cleaning the hooks on the mutton slaughter chain conveyor - which is meant to carry a whole carcass - when the machine activated and hit him from behind.
'I don't remember much about the accident. All I know is one minute I was at work and the next minute I was in hospital and it was the next morning.'
An ambulance arrived and managed to remove the hook from the chain, and Mr Matahiki was taken to Tauranga Hospital in a serious condition.
Astonishingly, the hook did not cause any eye or brain injuries, however it was only millimetres away from causing more permanent damage.
Mr Matahiki, who earned his nickname wolfing five Whopper meals in five minutes, said Affco later tried to blame him for the accident and claim he should not have been standing in the way of hook.
'I think they're gutless not to admit what had gone wrong.'
Last month Affco was found guilty of breaching health and safety laws and failing to ensure the safety of Mr Matahiki.