A horticultural company and its director have been fined for negligence for work health and safety that left a worker a tetraplegic.
Wai Shing Ltd and its director Franklin Wai Shing were charged for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employee while at work after an employee was struck on the back by part of a harvester used to collect pumpkin and squash while he was unloading it from a truck in a remote location. The incident happened on 10 March 2016.
The incident left the man a tetraplegic requiring 24-hour care.
“Wai Shing Ltd hadn’t followed basic health and safety management practices such as understanding and managing risks associated with using the harvester, despite using it since 1996,” said WorkSafe General Manager Operations and Specialist Services, Brett Murray.
“In addition, the victim was inadequately trained in its use or transport and the company had no emergency plan to cover when a person is injured while working alone.”
The company was also charged for failing in its duty to notify WorkSafe New Zealand after the incident, disturbing the incident scene and continued use of the harvester that injured the worker. It also failed to mention the incident two weeks later when WorkSafe inspectors visited on an unrelated matter. WorkSafe was only alerted to the incident nearly six months later by the victim’s wife.
The company was fined $37,500, while its director was fined $12,500, and the total reparations ordered were $336,300.