The District Court has fined an employer over $304,000 and ordered it to pay reparation of $238,000 after one of its employees was injured at work.

The employee was unloading a piece of machinery when it slipped and the worker was thrown off the machine.  He suffered severe injuries and is paralysed.

At the time of the incident the employee was not wearing a harness which is a required safety device when working on this type of machinery.  In addition he was not trained in the use of the machinery.

The Court found that the employee should never have been using the machinery without being trained and without using the proper safety equipment.

Employers should ensure that they fully investigate the risks in their workplace and take all practical steps to eliminate or minimise those risks.  They should ensure that, as part of that process, all staff are properly trained in the use of the equipment and use all required safety devices.

Alan Knowsley
Employment & Health & Safety Lawyer