Port operating company fined over $500K over worker’s death

A port operating company in New Zealand was sentenced and fined $ 506,048 at the Wellington District Court today following an incident in January 2017 in which a worker died as a result of a fall injury at the company’s container assessment and repair facility.

The worker was using a ladder to access the roof and undertake repairs on a 2.9-metre-high container, where he fell and hit his head on the concrete below.

WorkSafe’s head of Specialist Interventions Simon Humphries said that the incident was foreseeable and avoidable.

“The Port had developed safe working procedures but failed to ensure that these procedures were implemented where the victim was working. WorkSafe also found that ladders were not being tied off and those that were in use were in poor repair, and there was no auditing to ensure that they were safe and appropriate to use. Further, there was no edge or fall protection in place to protect workers.

“Safe operating procedures are there for a reason, particularly in the case of working at height which is a well-known and significant risk and they must be implemented and fully embedded in a workplace.

“In addition, particular care and diligence should be taken to ensure that equipment that is used to access work at height is safe and in good working order,” said Mr. Humphries.

“The tragic death of this worker should serve as a reminder to every business whose workers undertake their duties off the ground that even a fall from a relatively low height can be fatal.

“This incident is a stark demonstration that complacency has no place in workplace health and safety.”

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