Canterbury business, Rangiora Carpets Limited has been sentenced to pay a total of $178,228 following an incident on 2nd June 2016.
An employee was pushing a box of files atop a mezzanine floor that was not consented, nor compliant with the building code. The worker lost her balance, and since no balustrade was in place, there was nothing to stop her going over the edge. She fell through a suspended false ceiling and landed on the floor, 2.5m below.
The victim suffered serious injuries, including a broken right arm, collarbone, and shoulder, a fractured pelvis and a laceration to the head. Fifteen months on, she has largely recovered from her injuries, though still suffers from some residual symptoms.
It is understood that the mezzanine floor had been in place for eight or nine years, over which time the company had not put in adequate control measures to prevent a fall from it. Since the incident, access to the mezzanine has been locked and a balustrade has been installed.
Worksafe New Zealand recommended a starting point for the fine of $560,000. However, representation for the defendant sought a starting point of $300,000 before reductions (reductions are often granted for an early guilty plea, co-operation with the regulator, remediation measures, etc.). Judge Tom Gilbert accepted the defendants recommendation of a $300,000 starting point, eventually sentencing the company to pay a $157,500 fine, $20,000 to the victim for emotional harm and reparation and costs to Worksafe NZ of $1228.
This sentence seems to confirm what was suspected following the first sentence under the HSWA: Penalties for health and safety offences under this Act are going to be significantly more than under the old Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.
Browse by Category