Company gets big wake-up call after failing to report serious workplace accidents
Failing to report a series of workplace accidents has cost Auckland-based company Mondiale Freight Services Limited fines totalling $62,475.
The Manukau District Court today heard that during an investigation by the Department of Labour (now the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)) into a December 2010 workplace accident, an inspector became aware of other accidents that had not been reported.
“Each of these incidents involved serious harm to a worker, and the company had a legal obligation to report them as soon as they occurred, and then follow up with formal written notification,” says Auckland health and safety manager for the MBIE, Claire Morris
“These were not minor incidents – they involved a crushed foot, a fractured thumb requiring six weeks off work and a fractured rib requiring a month off work. All of these incidents occurred within the space of a year.
“It is a fundamental right of workers to expect to go home safe after work – not only did that not happen in these cases, but the employer also took a lackadaisical attitude to its notification responsibilities, and this is unacceptable.
“This case should come as a big wake-up call to those with notification obligations. The MBIE urges all employers and others to make sure they notify us when required if serious harm incidents occur on the job,” Ms Morris says.
Notes to Editor
- Mondiale Freight Services Limited appeared in the Manukau District Court today.
- Mondiale Freight Services Limitedwas charged with three offences under Section 25(3)(a) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, and a further three charges under section 25(3)(b).
These sections state: If there occurs any serious harm or accident to which this subsection applies, the employer, self-employed person, or principal concerned must,—
(a) as soon as possible after the occurrence becomes known to the employer, self-employed person, or principal, notify the Secretary of the occurrence; and
(b) within 7 days after the occurrence, or, if the occurrence is not known to the employer, self-employed person, or principal within that period, as soon as possible after it becomes known, give the Secretary written notice, in the prescribed manner, of the circumstances of the occurrence
- The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 is available online
- Read more information about the serious harm and accident notification process.