Fines for incident at geothermal project site
Businesses cannot lose sight of their health and safety responsibilities and plans for even a moment if they’re to keep their workforces safe according to MBIE’s Health and Safety group.
“Yesterday, two companies were fined for a workplace accident in which they deviated from their established safety practices and were lucky the worker involved suffered only minor injuries,” Wayne Vernon, Chief Inspector Petroleum and Geothermal said.
Icelandic geothermal drilling contractor, Jardboranir, was fined $32,000 and Mighty River Power $16,000 (as principal for the company-controlled site) at the Rotorua District Court for breaches of the Health and Safety in Employment Act at the Ngatamariki geothermal project site in September last year. A worker on the site suffered minor injuries when a drill pipe fell through the cab of a crane.
“Even when companies have well developed safety management systems, they must continually pay attention to the detail and not divert from the plans without going through a full hazard analysis and mitigation process.
“The moment any company deviates from their established hazard control measures they put workers in danger and they breach health and safety law,” Mr Vernon said.
“One of the lessons from the Pike River tragedy is that the regulator, businesses and workers must not wait for an accident to happen before addressing site safety issues. This successful prosecution clearly signals the regulator’s intent to do all it can to prevent unnecessary workplace injuries,” Mr Vernon said.