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Construction company sentenced after vehicle fatality

Media release – Construction company sentenced after vehicle fatality

A South Island construction company has been ordered to pay fines, reparation and costs of more than $500,000 after a worker was crushed and killed when the truck he was driving rolled down a bank.

In a decision released by the Blenheim District Court last week, Crafar Crouch Construction (Picton) Limited was ordered to pay a fine of $351,563 and reparations of $177,735 following a fatal incident in June 2017.

In the incident, a worker was killed when the dump truck he was driving veered off the road and down a bank in the Marlborough Sounds in June 2017. A WorkSafe investigation found numerous health and safety failings made by the company led to the worker’s death.

Crafar Crouch failed to communicate, monitor and enforce policies that vehicles can only be driven by workers that were wearing seatbelts and had appropriate licenses. The worker was hired as a labourer and was not licensed to drive the truck which weighed more than six tonnes.

It also found that Crafar Crouch allowed the worker to drive trucks on numerous occasions, despite being aware of their inexperience. The company was also aware of risks around driving on dangerous roads in the area.

WorkSafe says the vehicle killing the highest number of people is trucks, and businesses needed to understand the consequences of an incident involving vehicles can be severe.

WorkSafe Chief Inspector Investigations Steve Kelly, said, Crafar Crouch Construction (Picton) Limited had policies in place but failed to ensure they were enforced and monitored.

“Crafar Crouch had policies around vehicles but in this instance ignored them, and allowed someone with very little truck driving experience to jump behind the wheel.

“The company was very aware of the risks involved and unfortunately this incident has ended with a young worker tragically losing their life and a family grieving for the loss of a loved one.”

NOTE: Crafar Crouch Construction (Picton) Limited is a separate entity to Crafar Crouch Construction Limited, sentenced in December 2018 over asbestos charges.

ENDS

Notes:

- A fine of $351,563 was imposed.

- Reparation of $177,735 was ordered, including $115,000 for emotional harm ($26,000 already paid) and $62,000 for consequential loss.

- Costs of $3,500.

- Crafar Crouch Construction (Picton) Limited was sentenced under sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and (2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

- Being a PCBU, having a duty to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers carrying out work for Crafar Crouch Construction (Picton) Limited, failed to comply with that duty, and that failure exposed workers, to a risk of death or serious injury.

- The maximum penalty is a fine not exceeding $1,500,000.


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