New Zealand Law Society - Fine for obstructing health and safety investigation

Fine for obstructing health and safety investigation

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WorkSafe says failing to comply with its investigation processes will not be tolerated after a Porirua man was found to have obstructed WorkSafe officers.

Joshua Junior Nanai was sentenced at the Porirua District Court on a representative charge of obstruction after failing to cooperate with a WorkSafe investigation. He was also sentenced on a substantive charge of failing to ensure the health and safety of other persons. 

WorkSafe says Mr Nanai failed to attend interviews with WorkSafe staff on four separate occasions. He also did not provide documentation and information to assist with WorkSafe’s investigation. He was fined $2,000 on this charge.

The charges arose from a WorkSafe investigation into Mr Nanai’s unsafe removal of a 30-metre high Norfolk pine tree. He was fined $12,000 on a charge relating to failing to ensure the health and safety of others by not implementing a traffic management plan to isolate the public from the tree work; or ensure adequate systems were used to control the tree debris.

WorkSafe Chief Inspector Investigations Steve Kelly says while WorkSafe staff were trying to complete their investigation into his work, Mr Nanai remained uncooperative and his behaviour was unacceptable.

“Our inspectors have legal authority to request information and businesses are required to provide that information.  Our inspectors are carrying out their work to protect workers and others and we will not hesitate to prosecute where they are hindered in that work and the law is flouted,” Mr Kelly says.