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 Section 56 is to be superseded in the new health and safety regime, which will instead impose direct obligations of due diligence on company directors and officers,” according to Grieve.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

Werewolf: John Pilger, And Making War On China

In July, the New Zealand Defence Force is scheduled to join the latest round of Talisman Sabre, a huge training exercise that Australia carries out biennially in conjunction with all four arms of the US military.

Last time around in 2015, New Zealand contributed 650 personnel, 45 vehicles and two of our $NZ771 million dollar fleet of NH90 helicopters to this regional war game.

What’s weird is that Talisman Sabre is actually a rehearsal for an assault on China and its ability to defend itself. More>>

ALSO:

 
 

Urban Planning Report: Momentum Grows To Replace The RMA

A major new report from the Productivity Commission lays the foundation for action on the growing political consensus that the Resource Management Act and associated laws are failing both cities and the natural environment and need a complete rewrite. More>>

ALSO:

Vaping: Quitline Supports Decision To Legalise Nicotine E-Cigarettes

Today Associate Minister of Health, Hon Nicky Wagner has announced that Government are taking the proactive step of legalising nicotine e-cigarettes, a move which Quitline is pleased to hear and support wholeheartedly. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Labour/Greens Deal (And The NZDF)

If Labour and the Greens were hoping their Budget Responsibility Rules (BRR) agreement would foster an unlikely alliance then hey… mission accomplished! Because it isn’t every day that Sue Bradford, the CTU and Matthew Hooton speak with one voice, as happened yesterday. More>>

ALSO:

Until After The Election: Extension Of Report-Back Date For Havelock North Inquiry

Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson announced today that the report-back date for the independent Inquiry into Havelock North Drinking-Water has been extended at the request of the Inquiry’s Panel. More>>

ALSO:

Little Heading For Court: Apology Over Donation/Hotel Contract Claims Not Accepted

Today I want to publicly apologise unreservedly to Mr Hagaman for any hurt, embarrassment or adverse reflection on his reputation which may have resulted from my various media statements. I have offered that apology to the Hagamans. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news