New Zealand Law Society - Machinery firm fined $239,000 for failures that led to severe injuries

Machinery firm fined $239,000 for failures that led to severe injuries

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A Gore farm machinery company’s lack of effective repairs to a tractor has resulted in a substantial fine and reparations to an injured farm worker, says WorkSafe.

In the Gore District Court, Agricentre South Ltd was penalised $239,000 after brakes on a tractor serviced and supplied by the business failed and ran over a worker. Reparations of $103,00 had already been awarded to the victim in April 2018.

“Vehicle service industries must ensure diligent workmanship, systems and practices in the work that they do to prevent injuries to users,” says WorkSafe Head of Specialist Interventions, Simon Humphries.

The brakes on the second-hand tractor were not working when it was purchased by Agricentre South in 2015. Some diagnostic work and repairs had been completed when the tractor was delivered for a trial in April 2016. The farm owner identified further issues with the tractor, including its brakes and Agricentre South attempted to fix the issue onfarm.

Five days into the trial, the brakes failed, and the tractor ran over a worker leaving her with fractured vertebra, fractures to her arm and injuries to both legs.

WorkSafe’s investigation found that Agricentre South had failed to ensure the tractor’s repair history was communicated between staff, failed to ensure the tractor had fully operational brakes, and that wires for the warning lights were reconnected and working after repairing the brakes.