The District Court has ordered an employer to pay over $340,000 after breaching health and safety responsibilities by allowing an unqualified employee to operate heavy machinery, resulting in serious injuries.

The employee was operating heavy machinery for which he was not qualified. He was operating the machinery on a slope. The machinery tipped over the slope and the employee fell 20 metres, suffering serious injuries.

Worksafe noted that this was not the first time that the employer allowed unqualified employees to operate heavy machinery. It expressed the importance of “using the right employee for the right job”.

The Court ordered the employer to pay a fine of $250,000, reparations of $50,000, and consequential loss of $18,000 to the employee. Additionally, the Court ordered the employer to complete a project order by writing an article setting out what the employer learned from the incident.

Employers must not allow employees to operate equipment or machinery for which they are not qualified. Allowing them to do so puts the employee, and all others around them, at risk of harm.

If there are concerns over health & safety issues it is wise to speak with a professional experienced in the area. 

What is a Project Order?

A Project Order is an order that can be made by the court, requiring a defendant to undertake a project that is aimed toward the improvement of health and safety. Project Orders are made for specific projects, sometimes proposed by defendants, and must be completed within the timeframe that the court provides in the Order

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