New Zealand Law Society - DHB and firm fined total of $472,000 for Health and Safety Act breaches

DHB and firm fined total of $472,000 for Health and Safety Act breaches

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Southern District Health Board has been the first Crown Entity prosecuted following changes to the Crown Organisations (Criminal Liability) Act 2002.

WorkSafe says changes made to the Act enable public sector agencies to be subject to the same fines as any other business under the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 2015.

Southern DHB was fined $225,000 and Fire and Mech $247,500 for failing to provide manufacturer’s instructions on the decommissioning of machinery. Both Fire and Mech and Southern DHB were ordered to pay reparation of $25,000.

The worker at Fire and Mech Contracting Ltd in Dunedin suffered an injury in May 2017 when removing a decommissioned X-ray machine. Helping to cut a wire to clear the machine, a spring-loaded counterweight struck their arm. The injury included a broken radius and ulna.

“Had the Southern DHB provided instructions to those involved in the decommissioning, a competent person may have been able to mitigate any risks around removing this kind of machinery, says WorkSafe’s Head of Specialist Interventions, Simon Humphries.

“Fire and Mech should have undertaken a comprehensive risk analysis to ensure work was completed safely. Because the workers were not experienced with this machinery, a worker has ended up with serious injuries.”

Both organisations were charged under sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and (2)(c) of the HSWA 2015.