Company fined $50k after teenage worker crushed

By Ben Chapman-Smith

An Auckland freight company has been fined $50,000 after pleading guilty to two health and safety charges after a young worker died last year.  File photo / Thinkstock
An Auckland freight company has been fined $50,000 after pleading guilty to two health and safety charges after a young worker died last year. File photo / Thinkstock

An Auckland freight business has been fined $50,000 after a teenage worker had his skull fractured when a large crate fell on him.

The 18-year old contractor was unloading crates from a shipping container at CT Logistics Ltd's premises in Mangere on September 8 last year.

A large crate containing glass sheets became unstable as it was being moved on a fork-lift, the District Court at Manukau heard yesterday.

The man unsuccessfully tried to stop it from sliding off but the crate's contents shifted inside, causing it to fall off the fork-lift and land on him.

He suffered a fractured skull, lacerations, a broken arm and bruising to most of his body.

A statement released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) said CT Logistics Ltd pleaded guilty to two charges under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

One of the charges was in relation to the injured contractor and another contractor, and the other charge in relation to its own employee.

All were exposed to the risk of harm while unloading the container, MBIE said.

The company was ordered to pay a fine of $50,000 and reparation of $5,000, on top of $10,000 already paid.

CT Logistics Ltd had failed in a number of areas, said John Howard, MBIE northern division general manager.

"This type of industry can be fast-moving and high-pressured as containers and vehicles are loaded and unloaded to tight deadlines and in confined spaces."

As well as ensuring a risk assessment had been carried out, the company should have been using the safest method for removing this type of cargo, Howard said.

It should also have kept the area clear of non-essential personnel and ensured that workers were adequately trained and supervised.

"None of these things happened, resulting in a severe injury to a worker that could easily have been avoided."

There was no excuse for the company's failings, Howard said.

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