New Zealand Law Society - Transport company fined $150,000, ordered to pay victims $85,000

Transport company fined $150,000, ordered to pay victims $85,000

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A transport company has been fined $150,000 and ordered to pay $85,000 in reparation to the victims of an incident resulting from truck brake failure, WorkSafe says.

It says a reserved decision by Tauranga District Court sentenced Sorenson Transport Ltd after one of its truck’s brakes failed and a worker was injured.

In October 2016 a driver who worked for the company, was travelling down the Kaimai Ranges, when the truck’s brakes stopped working correctly.

The driver lost control of the truck, which then struck another vehicle, crashed through a barrier and fell on its side trapping the driver in the cab. The driver bruised their legs, arm and shoulder and suffered whiplash.

The driver of the vehicle struck by the truck lost their right eye and suffered from multiple rib fractures as well as a fractured face and collar bone and bruised lungs.

A police investigation raised concerns about breaches of work health and safety legislation with regards to the state of maintenance to the truck and as a result WorkSafe carried out its own investigation.

A WorkSafe investigation found the truck was not maintained to proper standards and found that brakes were not included on the Sorenson’s fleet check sheet.

WorkSafe Chief Inspector, Investigations, Steve Kelly, says vehicles are the single biggest cause of acute harm at work across all sectors.

“The consequences of an incident involving a vehicle can be severe. This incident has left one person with life changing injuries and the outcome could have been much worse.

“This crash could have been avoided if Sorenson Transport Limited had of ensured the truck was adequately maintained and if the company had established an effective system for identifying and monitoring maintenance requirements specific to each truck in its fleet," he says.

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