Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Health and Safety penalties "increasing markedly"

Media Release

6 April 2006

Health and Safety penalties “increasing markedly”

It has always been difficult for employers to defend health and safety prosecutions brought by the Department of Labour, and now the penalties charged upon conviction are increasing markedly.

That’s according to Grant Nicholson, Senior Associate at Kensington Swan and leader of the firm’s Health and Safety practice.

Speaking this week to industry experts at Worksafe Expo 2006, one of New Zealand’s largest health and safety events, Mr Nicholson says fines imposed against employers have remained static in recent years but reparations have become a significant additional penalty.

“The Department of Labour’s view is that fines for fatalities should be in the area of $100,000 or more, and that there is nothing wrong with reparations awards of similar amounts.

“No court has yet imposed a pure fine of anything like $100,000, but several have ordered reparations of at least that much.

“There is no science behind these numbers, and Courts are routinely ordering reparations without the benefit of a reparations report.”

Grant Nicholson says between 2002 and 2005, the amount of total reparations awarded in health and safety prosecutions increased by more than 800%.

“There appears to be an alarming increase in the use of reparations as financial compensation for victims of accidents.

“This is even in cases where the injury is not particularly serious, there is no real emotional harm and, sometimes, the victim has been at fault.”

“Under the Sentencing Act, reparations are meant to compensate victims for emotional harm or loss, not physical harm.

“Compensation for the injury itself is supposed to be covered by ACC. The Courts are now effectively introducing workplace injury damages by the back door.”

“This poses the question of whether ordering reparations in addition to ACC payments amounts to double-dipping. It is only a matter of time before an appropriate legal test case considers this issue,” he says.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Media Mega Merger: StuffMe Hearing Argues Over Moveable Feast

New Zealand's two largest news publishers are appealing against the Commerce Commission's rejection of the proposal to merge their operations. More>>


Approval: Northern Corridor Decision Released

The approval gives the green light to construction of the last link of Auckland’s Western Ring Route, providing an alternative route from South Auckland to the North Shore. More>>


Crown Accounts: $4.1 Billion Surplus

The New Zealand Government has achieved its third fiscal surplus in a row with the Crown accounts for the year ended 30 June 2017 showing an OBEGAL surplus of $4.1 billion, $2.2 billion stronger than last year, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says. More>>


Mycoplasma Bovis: One New Property Tests Positive

The newly identified property... was already under a Restricted Place notice under the Biosecurity Act. More>>

Accounting Scandal: Suspension Of Fuji Xerox From All-Of-Government Contract

General Manager of New Zealand Government Procurement John Ivil says, “FXNZ has been formally suspended from the Print Technology and Associated Services (PTAS) contract and terminated from the Office Supplies contract.” More>>