When employing migrant workers it is vital to ensure they clearly understand health and safety risks and the measures in place to control them.
This message from WorkSafe comes after Sidogg Investments Limited, a dairy farming company, was fined $281,250 in the Ashburton District Court yesterday after a worker was crushed by a trailer.
In the September 2018 incident, the worker was standing on the draw bar of a trailer being towed by an SUV. The worker slipped from the draw bar and was drawn underneath the trailer and run over by the moving wheels.
The victim was left with spinal injuries, pelvic and rib fractures and his life has changed immeasurably as a result of the incident.
WorkSafe’s Chief Inspector Steve Kelly said the victim, a migrant worker with English as his second language, was not aware that standing on the drawbar of the trailer was a hazard.
“WorkSafe’s investigation found it was common practice for calf collection workers to stand on the drawbar, but this absolutely should not have been allowed.”
At the time of the incident a number of those employed by Sidogg Investments Limited were migrant workers and because of this, the company should have been taking extra precautions to ensure they understood health and safety risks clearly, Mr Kelly said.
“At any farm where workers are employed and for whom English might be a second language, employers need to take extra precautions to ensure health and safety responsibilities are being met and understood by workers.
“As an employer it is your responsibility to make sure you find ways to clearly communicate risks. Employers should not allow any work to be carried out until they are completely satisfied workers understand safe practices.”
- A fine of $281,250 was imposed.
- Reparation of $90,000 was ordered.
- Sidogg Investments Limited was sentenced under sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and (2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
- Being a PCBU having a duty to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of the workers who work for the PCBU, while the workers are at work in the business or undertaking, namely while collecting calves as part of a dairy farm operation, did fail to comply with that duty, and that failure exposed the workers to a risk of death or serious injury arising from exposure to a crushing hazard created by the unsafe operation of a towed trailer.
- S 48(2)(c) carries a maximum penalty of $1,500,000.