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Trade Leader December Issue 2017
click here to read Shane Storey’s article
A cautionary tale – employers are liable for employees’ lack of common sense!
Yes of course we all want to feel safe in our place of work but now the responsibility for a lack of common sense has been placed squarely at the feet of employers.
Recent Health and Safety cases have highlighted the need for additional vigilance by employers even when common sense is not applied in the workplace.
Waimea Sawmills Ltd discovered this, when a technical supervisor and a member of the health and safety committee for 2 years prior to his accident, caused himself serious injury when he tried to lubricate moving machinery even though it was behind a fenced off zone. Although Waimea Sawmills appealed, Worksafe New Zealand fined Waimea $40,000 for failing to take all reasonable practicable steps to ensure the employee’s safety at work,
The Court ruled that Employers must anticipate that even trusted and experienced employees may take shortcuts at work and behave contrary to common sense when working on machines that they would normally know to be unsafe, but where under certain circumstances, caution may be thrown to the wind.
It is the obligation of an employer to assess the risk of a hazard against the employee acting in contrary to common sense.
Health and Safety Cases
Food Company pays $43,000 after worker suffered carbon monoxide poisoning
Extensive experience operating a particular type of equipment may not necessarily be a protection against the dangers created when it is used in an unfamiliar environment.
Boyds Asparagus Industries Limited has been fined $26,ooo and ordered to pay reparation of $7,000 (in addition to $10,000 already paid) after a worker was poisoned by carbon monoxide, suffering serious harm, he fell unconscious for several hours and spent 2 days in hospital.
Boyds pleaded guilty to 2 charges under the Health and Safety in Employment Act for failing to take allpractical steps to ensure an employee was healthy and safe at work.
Boyds failed to identify the hazard of of carbon monoxide poisoning from the use of a LPG poweredforklift in a confined area. They also failed to train their employees on the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from using these types of forklifts.
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