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Company Fined $56,250 Following Preventable Death at Work

30 May 2012

Company Fined $56,250 Following Preventable Death at Work

Safe Air Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Air New Zealand Limited has been fined $56,250 after one of its employees died in a workplace accident.

The company, which specialises in aviation maintenance and repair, was also ordered to pay reparation of $22,500 following the accident on 8 August 2011.

The Blenheim District Court heard that two employees were servicing an engine at Woodbourne Airfield. The engine being serviced was mounted on a testing site and accessible from an elevated work platform.

With one employee in the control room at the computer, the other went outside to check the engine on the right hand side before checking the left. To access the right hand side the employee had to walk in front of the engine past the air intake.

“When the employee maneuvered in front of the engine he wasn’t holding onto the handrail around the edge of the platform and was pulled into the engine,” says the Department’s Southern General Manager Jean Martin.

“While the company had identified airflow from an engine as a hazard, tragically the procedure they put in place to minimise this was not fully effective.

“A handrail around the edge of the platform wasn’t a sufficient measure against the hazard. A proper guard to prevent anyone from getting dangerously close to the engine should have been in place, and might well have prevented this tragic accident,” Ms Martin says.

Safe Air Limited was convicted on one charge under Section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.

Section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 states: Every employer shall take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees while at work; and in particular shall take all practicable steps to—
• provide and maintain for employees a safe working environment; and
• provide and maintain for employees while they are at work facilities for their safety and health; and
• (c) ensure that plant used by any employee at work is so arranged, designed, made, and maintained that it is safe for the employee to use; and
o (i) in their place of work; or
o (ii) near their place of work and under the employer's control; and
• (d) ensure that while at work employees are not exposed to hazards arising out of the arrangement, disposal, manipulation, organisation, processing, storage, transport, working, or use of things—
• (e) develop procedures for dealing with emergencies that may arise while employees are at work.

The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 is available online: http://legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1992/0096/latest/DLM278829.html

ENDS

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