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Source: Worksafe New Zealand

The safety of customers and others interacting with a business must be a priority when considering health and safety in the workplace says WorkSafe, and policies in place should be implemented every day.

The messages follow the sentencing today of Vehicle Inspection New Zealand Limited (VINZ) following the death of a customer at their Hamilton site.

The February 2019 incident involved a customer being struck by a vehicle driven by a VINZ employee at the Hamilton testing site. The customer suffered traumatic brain injuries and later died in hospital.

WorkSafe’s investigation found that while VINZ had some policies in place around the interactions of customers or visitors to the site, they were not actively implementing or enforcing the requirements.

WorkSafe’s Area Manager Danielle Henry said this tragic incident reinforced the message that people must be separated from moving vehicles. The investigation identified some further steps that could and subsequently have been implemented by VINZ.

“This was a site where there were a large number of vehicles passing through each day, alongside customers. The risks were well known – and there were policies in place, however there was a failure, at least on this occasion, to adhere to them.

“Our investigation into the incident found that VINZ had identified the risk in its hazard register. But simply putting plans on paper will not eliminate the risk to pedestrians caused by vehicles. Good health and safety systems need to be practiced every day – not on occasion or once something has gone wrong.

“The business should have ensured customers and workers were isolated from vehicles at all times. This can be done in a number of ways such as designated walkways or barriers to exclude customers from higher risk areas”.

Vehicle Inspection New Zealand Limited was fined $225,000 at the Hamilton District Court today and ordered to pay reparation for emotional harm of $130,000 and $148,885 for consequential loss to the victim’s family.

WorkSafe has recently released good practice guidelines relating to site traffic management available on our website

Notes:

  • Vehicle Inspection New Zealand Limited appeared at the Hamilton District Court on Thursday 18 November.
  • A fine of $225,000 was imposed.
  • Reparation of $130,000 was ordered.
  • Consequential loss of $148,885 was ordered.
  • Vehicle Inspection New Zealand Limited was sentenced under sections 36(2), 48(1) and (2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. 
  • Being a PCBU failed to ensure so far as was reasonably practicable, the health and safety of other persons, was not put at risk from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking when moving vehicles for inspection, and that failure exposed a worker to a risk of serious injury or death.
  • S 48(2)(c) carries a maximum penalty of $1,500,000.

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Phone: 021 823 007 or

Email: media@worksafe.govt.nz

MIL OSI