WorkSafe New Zealand v Storage and Distribution Specialists Ltd [2017] NZDC 27252

Published 13 September 2018

Failure to consult, co-operate and co-ordinate activities with an entity that also had a duty — workplace injury — Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, s 34 — Department of Labour v Hanham & Philp Contractors Limited (2008) 6 NZELR 79 — WorkSafe New Zealand v Rangiora Carpets Limited [2017] NZDC 22587. The defendant company appeared for sentencing having entered a guilty plea on one charge laid under s 34 of the Health and Safety at Work Act having failed to consult, co-operate and co-ordinate, to a reasonably practicable degree, with another entity that also had duties in relation to the same matter; the failure having resulted in injury of an employee. The victim was injured, suffering seven fractures to his foot and required a significant period of time off work, when a forklift reversed into him; the driver had not seen the victim. Following an investigation, it was found that the defendant company had failed to consult with the site owner about a safe system of work for loading the trucks which would have prevented the accident. In setting the starting point for a fine, the court adopted the bands as identified in "Rangiora Carpets" and considered the defendant's usual work practices to assess the seriousness with which it took it's responsibilities. The defendant's starting point was set at being "low to medium" and a starting point of $15,000 was set. Discounts were given to recognise the defendant company's co-operation throughout the investigation, good safety record and remedial action taken following the accident, as well as the entry of guilty pleas. The defendant company was fined $7,825 to be paid in instalments. No reparation order was made as it was found that sufficient reparation had already been made to the victim. Judgment Date: 27 November 2017.