Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Conviction provides timely reminder of director duties

Conviction provides timely reminder of director duties


25 March 2014 – Company directors are far more likely to be in the gun over liability issues under New Zealand’s tougher health and safety regulations.
This was highlighted with the recent conviction of Gloria Davis, the sole director of the company that owned the ill-fated Easy Rider fishing boat which sank last year, killing eight people.

Stephanie Grieve, a health and safety specialist lawyer with Duncan Cotterill, says the Easy Rider case illustrates the trend towards imposing greater liability on directors of companies involved in health and safety breaches.

“Under the new regime, we expect more cases of directors who are not operationally involved being found liable for health and safety breaches, in circumstances where they have not obtained key knowledge on health and safety performance in order to ensure it is adequate.

“The current regime allows prosecution not just of the company but also of those individuals responsible for health and safety implemenation.“

Even though Ms Davis had no involvement in the direct decisions made the day the boat sank, she was charged with failing to take all practical steps to ensure the safety of contractors (vessel deckhands) working on board the vessel. That was because she had (or ought to have had) knowledge about health and safety issues relating to the vessel.

Ms Davis was charged under s 56(1) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, which allows charges to be brought against directors of a company in their personal capacity for their acquiescence or participation in the health and safety breaches of the company.

“Charges under s 56(1) have historically been relatively rare, and successful prosecutions have tended to involve small owner-operated businesses. Section 56 is to be superseded in the new health and safety regime, which will instead impose direct obligations of due diligence on company directors and officers,” according to Grieve.

She says the case also illustrates what has been a problem with s 56(1) from the outset: it has generally only applied where a directoris close to core operations (compare, for instance, the Pike River case, in which no directors were charged).

The new due diligence provisions intend also to capture directors in larger enterprises, who are less likely to have as much direct knowledge and involvement in the day-to-day business.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

The Government has approved a negotiating mandate for Trans-Pacific Partnership 11 (TPP11), which will ensure New Zealand businesses remain competitive in overseas markets.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>

ALSO:

.

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>

ALSO:

Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>

ALSO:

Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>

ALSO:

Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>

ALSO:

(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election