Manage your hazards – no matter how big the job
Logging company Mangorei Sawmill Limited (MSL) has been fined $20,000 and ordered to pay reparation of $10,000 after a digger lost traction and rolled down an embankment – with an employee, Mark Chapman, still inside.
Chapman lost consciousness in the fall but managed to escape the digger, climb back up the track and phone for help. He was helicoptered to hospital where he was treated for muscle damage to his thigh, bruising and a mild concussion.
MSL was sentenced in the New Plymouth District Court today after pleading guilty to a charge under the Health and Safety in Employment Act for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure Chapman’s safety.
The incident occurred in April 2014 on a farm in Stratford. The digger was used to make a track to a worksite where MSL was logging trees. The track was on a steep gradient with a damp rock face. While idle on the edge of the damp track, not supported by tree stumps, the digger slid down the rock face.
“Little thought went into MSLs safety plan for this job,” says Jo Pugh, WorkSafe New Zealand’s Chief Inspector Assessments in the Central region.
“It is unacceptable that MSL had no specific management plan for the track work to be developed, implemented and monitored.
“The hazards list for the site had not been done in six years, and no hazard plan was created for the unstable ground and the tree felling operation. Chapman also had limited means of communication and MSL did not assess his competency for using a digger for track construction.
“Forestry is a hazardous and high risk industry. It doesn’t matter how big or small a job, you need to identify and manage your risks so everyone stays safe.”