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Lack of information on Port of Tauranga death is concerning

Maritime Union says lack of information on Port of Tauranga death extremely concerning

The Maritime Union says it is extremely concerned about the lack of public information about a Tauranga port worker who died last week.

On 16 August a 59-year old worker at the port suffered head injuries and was airlifted to Waikato Hospital from Tauranga Hospital.

The man died on 22 August according to media reports, and according to sources a tangi has been held, but the incident only became public in news reports yesterday.

Maritime Union National Secretary Joe Fleetwood says the failure of communication from the employer and port company was astounding and deeply disturbing.

He says there have been conflicting media reports about when and where the man had died, and as yet he had not even been named in public.

Worksafe New Zealand were investigating but it was reported police had not been informed of the incident or death of the worker until several days after his death.

Other port workers were in the dark as well and were not aware of what had happened.

Mr Fleetwood says some important information had yet to be confirmed such as where the injury occurred or who the principal employer was.

Why has the employer made no public statement about the death of their employee?

What were the circumstances of the death?

When were Port of Tauranga informed by the employer about the incident and subsequent death – and why did they not make a public statement about the incident until approached by media?

He says the confusion surrounding the situation is deplorable as workers had a right to know what was occurring in their workplace.

Mr Fleetwood says all maritime workers find it distasteful is that no information has been placed in the public domain by the employer or Port of Tauranga since the injury or death.

He says Port of Tauranga have a duty of care to workers who work within their port and that includes acknowledging this type of incident.

“It seems while a worker from the port was in hospital with fatal injuries, the Port of Tauranga put out a press statement on 21 August 2014 about their profitability, success and what they call a strong health and safety record. This attitude speaks for itself.”


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