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 Section 56 is to be superseded in the new health and safety regime, which will instead impose direct obligations of due diligence on company directors and officers,” according to Grieve.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

'Tea Break Bill' Passes: Gordon Campbell On Bad Labour Laws And Poor Safety

By co-incidence, one of the prime dangers of the government’s new employment relations law has been underlined by the release of the death and injury statistics among workers at New Zealand ports. These are highly profitable enterprises for the port owners.

The Port of Tauranga for instance, is expecting its current full-year profit to be between $78 million and $83 million and other ports are enjoying similar boom times – but they are also highly dangerous places for the people who work on or around the port premises. At the Port of Tauranga, there have been 26 serious accidents since 2011, and two deaths. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

No Charges: Outcome Of Operation Clover Investigation

Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls in the Waitemata Police district and wider Auckland area... More>>

ALSO:

UNICEF Report: NZ Cautioned On "Stagnating" Child Poverty

An international report by UNICEF has found that child poverty rates in New Zealand have barely changed since 2008, despite similar sized countries significantly reducing child poverty during the recent recession. More>>

ALSO:

Funding Report: Two Pathways For Transport In Auckland

Commissioned by Auckland Council, the group was asked to investigate two possible pathways for raising $300 million per year ($12 billion over 30 years) to pay for the improvements needed to help fix Auckland’s transport system. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Equity: Equal Pay Win In Court Of Appeal

CTU: The Court of Appeal has made a historic decision paving the way for a substantial equal pay claim for aged care workers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Finishing Line, And Amazon’s Woes

If the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal wasn’t such a serious matter, this would be pretty funny… More>>

ALSO:

TV3 Video: Three Die On Roads Over Labour Weekend

The official holiday period ended at 6am Tuesday, with three deaths on the roads during the Labour Day weekend. More>>

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news