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


I Sing The Highway Electric: Charge Net NZ To Connect New Zealand

BMW is turning Middle Earth electric after today announcing a substantial contribution to the charging network Charge Net NZ. This landmark partnership will enable Kiwis to drive their electric vehicles (EVs) right across New Zealand through the installation of a fast charging highway stretching from Kaitaia to Invercargill. More>>


Watch This Space: Mahia Rocket Lab Launch Site Officially Opened

Economic Development Minster Steven Joyce today opened New Zealand’s first orbital launch site, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, on the Mahia Peninsula on the North Island’s east coast. More>>


Marketing Rocks!
Ig Nobel Award Winners Assess The Personality Of Rocks

A Massey University marketing lecturer has received the 2016 Ig Nobel Prize for economics for a research project that asked university students to describe the “brand personalities” of three rocks. More>>


Nurofen Promotion: Reckitt Benckiser To Plead Guilty To Misleading Ads

Reckitt Benckiser (New Zealand) intends to plead guilty to charges of misleading consumers over the way it promoted a range of Nurofen products, the Commerce Commission says. More>>


Half A Billion Accounts, Including Xtra: Yahoo Confirms Huge Data Breach

The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. More>>


Rural Branches: Westpac To Close 19 Branches, ANZ Looks At 7

Westpac confirms it will close nineteen branches across the country; ANZ closes its Ngaruawahia branch and is consulting on plans to close six more branches; The bank workers union says many of its members are nervous about their futures and asking ... More>>

Interest Rates: RBNZ's Wheeler Keeps OCR At 2%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 2 percent and said more easing will be needed to get inflation back within the target band. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news