A worker has been tragically killed after two companies failed to take action following a Health & Safety audit. The audit found that workers were not adhering to safe distance rules on the worksite. Both companies had the report months before the tragic incident, but did nothing to prevent employees of one company from breaching the rules.

A land owner engaged the other company to carry out work. The contracting company staff were the ones breaching the rules, but the land owner was also held liable as it also had a duty to ensure its site was worked in a safe way.

The District Court convicted both companies and ordered the employer to pay a fine of $468,000 and the land owner to pay a fine of $288,000.

Both companies were ordered to share payment of reparation to the victim’s family of $238,000.

You cannot contract out of your H&S responsibilities and more than one party can have responsibilities at the same time so you must cooperate and coordinate to ensure there are no gaps in the H&S operation.