Sort your hazards so staff stay safe
Logistics company Hall’s Direct Limited has been fined $50,500 and ordered to pay reparation of $25,000 after one of their trucks reversed into an employee, Peter Lepou, pinning him against a loading bay. Mr Lepou fractured his ribs and spine, and was hospitalised for four days. He has resigned from his job as his injuries are so painful he can’t return to the industry.
Hall’s Direct Limited was sentenced in the Auckland District Court yesterday under the Health and Safety in Employment Act for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of an employee.
On 6 March 2014, Mr Lepou was instructed by his supervisor, James Dallas, to take another employee, Jacques Snyman, on the delivery route with him and to let Mr Snyman drive. While delivering meat to a business in Penrose, Mr Lepou got out of the truck to talk to an employee at the business. Mr Snyman reversed the truck into Mr Lepou, pinning him against a loading bay.
The most significant hazard in this incident was reversing the truck in a loading area when people were present. This hazard was made worse as the truck’s reversing camera was broken.
“The employer did not get the camera fixed even after Mr Lepou warned them on multiple occasions that it was broken,” says Keith Stewart, WorkSafe’s Chief Inspector.
“The employer had also not provided Mr Lepou or Mr Snyman with a safe system they could use when working around docks and loading bays, and Mr Lepou had no idea that Mr Snyman was an inexperienced driver with only had a 4L learner’s licence. Mr Lepou should not have been expected to be a driving instructor and had no qualifications or experience in this area. It was not part of Mr Lepou’s job to train others to drive.
“The conviction and fine is a reminder to all companies that they need to take their obligation to their staff’s health and safety seriously,” says Keith Stewart.