New Zealand Law Society - Company fined $500,000 after elderly man's death on damaged footpath

Company fined $500,000 after elderly man's death on damaged footpath

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A Worksafe investigation after an elderly man died when he fell from a mobility scooter on a damaged footpath has resulted in a company responsible for his health and safety being fined $500,000.

WorkSafe Chief Investigator Hayden Mander says Shannon Thomson Concrete Pumps Limited had obstructed the WorkSafe investigation, and didn’t turn up to the sentencing in the Manukau District Court Court (on 4 September).

“This company had already been convicted in May last year for obstructing our investigation into this entirely avoidable death,” he says.

In March 2017 the elderly man was riding his mobility scooter on a footpath near the development of a Papatoetoe housing site and fell from it when he hit a damaged section of footpath. The company provided the concrete pump to the site.

“Our investigation found Shannon Thomson Concrete Pumps Limited had failed to work with other companies on site to identify the damaged footpath as a risk.  No site specific risk assessment was undertaken and the company failed to identify and put in place controls to manage the risks related to the entry and exit of heavy vehicles onto the worksite," Mr Mander says.

“Shannon Thomson Concrete Pumps Limited’s total lack of regard for the family and the company’s role in the man’s death is reflected in this massive fine. There was no deduction from the starting point of $500,000 as the Judge did not find that there were any applicable mitigating factors.

“We hope today’s sentencing can offer the victim’s family some closure following this tragic incident,” he says.

Last year, YSB Group was fined $100,000 for their involvement in the incident, and was ordered to pay reparation of $100,000 on behalf of both companies.