The District Court has ordered a company to pay $536,000 after their lack of health and safety protocols led to the death of an employee.

The employee was conducting maintenance work on a piece of machinery. When testing to see if his maintenance work had been successful he manually turned on one of the attachments to the machine. The machine then activated whilst the employee was inside it. The employee was fatally crushed.

The WorkSafe investigation revealed that the company had not provided adequate instruction regarding the required safety principles when performing maintenance on the machinery. The employees were given a manual with information about the machinery, but these contained limited information about the specific safety procedure that would have prevented the employee’s death.

The investigation also found that no other supervision or monitoring of the employee’s knowledge or understanding of the required safety practices of the machinery was implemented.

A more extensive training programme, or supervision when conducting dangerous maintenance, would more adequately prepare employees to complete their jobs safely, and could serve to prevent accidents such as the one in this case from happening.

The company was ordered to pay a fine of $265,000, reparations of $80,000, as well as consequential loss of $191,000.

If there is confusion around the required safety practices of a company it pays to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.

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Alan Knowsley & Matthew Binnie

Litigation team