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CentrePort to pay $75,691 after worker fatality
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CentrePort to pay $75,691 after worker fatality

4 June 2015

CentrePort Limited has been ordered to pay reparation of $15,000 and fined $60,691 over the death of employee Mark Samoa on 20 January 2013.

Mr Samoa was pasting labels on pulp packs at the port when he was fatally crushed by a forklift. The driver was pushing two stacks together when the incident occurred. Each pack of pulp weighed 4.5 tonnes - the stacks that crushed Mr Samoa weighed 18 tonnes in total.

CentrePort was sentenced in the Wellington District Court today under the Health and Safety in Employment Act for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of their employee Mr Samoa.

In convicting CentrePort, Judge Bill Hastings found Centreport failed to separate the tasks of the pedestrians pasting and the forklift operations. He also noted that CentrePort failed to have a procedure for the interaction between the pedestrians and the forklift where the bales of pulp were being de-stacked by forklifts and labelled by workers at the same time and in the same premises.

The Judge found that because Centreport failed to have such a procedure for this work, it also failed to train, supervise, implement, monitor and communicate the procedure.

“The judge was clear and so is WorkSafe. Businesses must have clear and well-understood methods of communications between workers undertaking different tasks in the same area,” says Brett Murray, General Manager High Hazards and Specialist Services.

“This fatality could have been avoided if CentrePort had a system in place to keep workers on foot well clear of workers operating heavy machinery.”

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