The District Court has ordered an employer and a business owner to pay over $460,000 after their failure to communicate properly and minimise risks left two employees seriously injured.

The client contracted the employer to do work at its factory. Before starting work, basic discussions were held about risks employees might face on the worksite.

When the employees began using equipment on the worksite, they were injured by chemicals on the site which had not been identified as a risk by either the site owner or the contractor.

Businesses need to cooperate and discuss health and safety issues of a worksite fully prior to any work beginning.

The Court ordered the employer to pay a fine of $165,000 and reparations of $34,000 to the employees. The business owner was ordered to pay a fine of $227,500 and reparations of $34,000.

If the employer and their client had taken the time to carry out a thorough risk assessment of the worksite before beginning work the entire incident may have been avoided.

It is important when two different businesses are carrying out work on the same worksite, that there is regular and open communication between both parties about what work is being carried out, and any risks that may be present. Failure to do so may put employees at significant risk, and potentially result in an expensive prosecution.

If there are concerns that risks in your workplace have not been minimised, and there is a risk to your or others’ safety, it is wise to speak with a professional experienced in the area.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-priced Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.