New Zealand Law Society - Construction company sentenced after vehicle fatality

Construction company sentenced after vehicle fatality

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A South Island construction company has been ordered to pay fines, reparation and costs of more than $500,000 after a worker was crushed and killed when the truck he was driving rolled down a bank.

In a decision released by the Blenheim District Court, Crafar Crouch Construction (Picton) Ltd was ordered to pay a fine of $351,563 and reparations of $177,735 following the fatal incident in June 2017.

The worker was killed when the dump truck he was driving veered off the road and down a bank in the Marlborough Sounds in June 2017. A WorkSafe investigation found numerous health and safety failings made by the company led to the death.

Crafar Crouch failed to communicate, monitor and enforce policies that vehicles can only be driven by workers who wear seatbelts and have appropriate licenses. The worker was hired as a labourer and was not licensed to drive the six-tonne truck.

It also found that Crafar Crouch allowed the worker to drive trucks on numerous occasions, despite being aware of their inexperience. The company was also aware of risks around driving on dangerous roads in the area.

WorkSafe Chief Inspector Investigations Steve Kelly, says Crafar Crouch had policies in place but failed to ensure they were enforced and monitored.

“Crafar Crouch had policies around vehicles but in this instance ignored them, and allowed someone with very little truck driving experience to jump behind the wheel,” he says.

“The company was very aware of the risks involved and unfortunately this incident has ended with a young worker tragically losing their life and a family grieving for the loss of a loved one.”