Delivery driver’s serious injury highlights need for workplace safety zones
An avoidable injury to a delivery truck driver visiting Sealed Air’s Glendene premises has cost the company a fine of $32,700. In addition, the Court found that Sealed Air should also pay reparation of $40,000 to the victim. The company had already paid the victim $37,500 so the Court ordered Sealed Air to “top up” the $37,500 with an additional $2,500.
The Court heard that in May last year a delivery truck driver was crushed by a crate which had fallen off a reach truck operated by a Sealed Air employee who was unloading the victim’s truck. The victim suffered fractures to his spine, pelvis and ankle, lacerations to his spleen and kidney and other crushing injuries to his spine and shoulder. He was hospitalised for three and a half months following the accident and has had ongoing medical treatment.
Investigations by the Department of Labour (now the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) found that the victim’s serious injuries could have been prevented if Sealed Air had provided a safety zone for truck drivers and other visitors. This was not done which meant that Sealed Air was in breach of section 15 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.
“There is no excuse for preventable injuries occurring in a workplace. The lack of adequate safety procedures remains a significant cause of workplace death and injury,” says John Howard, General Manager Northern for the Department of Labour (now the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment).
"Too many workers in this country are going to work and getting injured, or worse, killed, in workplace accidents. Simple precautions could avoid so many of these accidents and employers must recognise that and take them,” Mr Howard says.
Notes to Editor
- Sealed Air was charged with one offence under Section 15 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.
- Section 15 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 states: Every employer shall take all practicable steps to ensure that no action or inaction of any employee while at work harms any other person.
- The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 is available online.