Farm company director convicted for directing a worker to lie during a work health and safety investigation

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Photo: Activedia, Pixabay

A farm company director from Southland in New Zealand was convicted for perverting the course of justice during a WorkSafe investigation.

The director was sentenced to four months of community detention in the Invercargill District Court today. He pleaded guilty to one charge for willfully attempting to obstruct, prevent, pervert or defeat the course of justice by directing a worker to lie to WorkSafe NZ.

The company was also convicted for failing to ensure the wood splitter he was using did not pose a risk of serious injury to the worker. The worker suffered significant crush injuries and lacerations to his hand while using the wood splitter.

No fine was imposed due to the director’s financial circumstance. He was ordered to pay reparation of $25,000 and $16,110 for consequential loss.

Judge Robin Bates also ordered an adverse publicity order on the farm company which requires it to publish in newspapers nominated by WorkSafe the offence, consequences and penalty imposed.

WorkSafe’s Chief Operating Officer, Phil Parkes said WorkSafe’s response to the director’s behaviour should serve as a reminder that duty holders have the responsibility to protect workers and that WorkSafe will not tolerate those who are trying to absolve themselves from that responsibility.

“Criminal behaviour by duty holders deserves appropriate enforcement action, and I am pleased to say the vast majority of businesses in New Zealand do care about their workers and make sure they can go home healthy and safe every day,” he said.

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