The District Court has ordered an employer to pay $536,000 after a worker died while completing field work.

The worker was fixing a mechanical attachment when it was manually spun and activated. The machine crushed the worker, causing fatal injuries.

A WorkSafe investigation found that the field workers had not been properly trained for the risks of fixing such a machine. The safety manuals were too large to reasonably expect the employees to read them, and the buddy system in place was inadequate.

The investigation also found that the workers were not aware of the particular risks and controls of repairing the machine. Better and ongoing supervision should have been implemented to correct unsafe repair methods in the field.

The Court decided that the employer had failed to fulfil their health and safety obligations as a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU), and that this failure led to the fatal accident. The employer failed to ensure the health and safety of all its workers while undertaking work for the PCBU, exposing workers to a risk of serious injury or death.

The Court ordered the employer to pay $271,000 in reparation to the victim’s family, as well as a fine of $265,000 for their health and safety failings.

Failing to meet your health and safety duties can lead to fatal accidents. If you are confused about your obligations, it pays to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.


Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price 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.

Alan Knowsley and Hunter Flanagan-Connors