New Zealand Law Society - CentrePort sentenced after fatality

CentrePort sentenced after fatality

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CentrePort Ltd has been fined $506,048 following an incident at the company’s container assessment and repair facility in which a worker died from a fall.

The worker was using a ladder to access the roof and undertake repairs on a 2.9 metre high container at the Wellington Port in January 2017. He fell and hit his head on the concrete below.

At a disputed facts hearing in February 2019, the judge found the worker had died as a result of CentrePort’s “failure to develop and implement a safe system of work for repairs of containers”.

WorkSafe’s Head of Specialist Interventions Simon Humphries says the incident was foreseeable and avoidable.

“There were numerous health and safety failings made by CentrePort that led to the worker’s death.

“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 for use. Further, there was no edge or fall protection in place to protect workers,” Mr Humphries says.

“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.

“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.”

As well as a fine of $506,048, reparation of $150,952 and costs of $36,425 were ordered, in addition to sums of $124,554 already paid.

CentrePort was sentence under sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and 2(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

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