In a recent case a farm manager was rounding up with his dogs on a quad bike when he crashed into a large tree. The employee was not wearing a helmet and broke his neck and sustained permanent brain damage.

The District Court sentenced the employer under the Health and Safety in Employment Act for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of their employee.

The Court found that there was no health and safety plan in place which directed the employee to wear a helmet while riding the farm’s quad bike.

The Court fined the employer $20,000 and ordered the employer to pay $50,000 in reparation to the injured employee.

Trustees and Board members need to ensure that the operation’s health & safety plans cover the risks on your farm (or business) and ensure employees are properly trained and follow the plan.

In this and other recent cases the employee was seriously and permanently disabled. Do you want your employees or whānau members to suffer such an accident? Also the employers in the recent cases were out of pocket between $70,000 to $89,000 each (plus their own internal and legal costs). Can your Māori Incorporation or Māori Land Trust sustain a hit of that magnitude?

The recent cases highlight the need for you to identify hazards then eliminate the hazard or minimise the risk.