The Meatworkers Union says it is seriously concerned over how a man was impaled on an animal hook at a processing factory in Bay of Plenty.
The incident, described by ambulance staff as horrific, occured at the Affco meat works near Te Puke last night.
The man, believed to be aged in his 40s, was described as being in a stable condition in Tauranga Hospital.
It took an hour and a half to free him after an animal carcass spreader hook went through his head from ear to cheek.
Meatworkers Union president Mike Nahu said in more than 40 years of working in the industry, he had never heard of such an injury occurring, and it was a worrying situation.
Affco was not commenting on the accident.
Worksafe New Zealand sent an investigator to the site last night.
Injured man was in good spirits
A Te Puke firefighter who was at the scene said the man was in good spirits while the hook was being removed.
Ivon Pilcher said the man kept calm until fire and ambulance crew had disconnected a chain from the hook.
"Once we had removed it from the chain device and had him lying on the stretcher, basically he and the ambulance pulled it out."