Tasman Tanning admits guilt

By Court Reporter -
Hazmat callout at Tasman Tanning. Photo / Stuart Munro
Hazmat callout at Tasman Tanning. Photo / Stuart Munro

Tasman Tanning has admitted it failed to ensure its employees' safety after a toxic leak from its Wanganui plant in Tod St.

The leak on November 2 last year saw 21 workers exposed to hydrogen sulphide after a mix-up of chemicals. Two workers were in hospital for a week.

Tasman Tanning was not present in Whanganui District Court yesterday but lawyer Stephanie Burlace entered the guilty plea on its behalf.

The company admitted one charge brought by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment under the Health and Safety and Employment Act of failing to ensure the safety of employees.

The section 6 charge carries a maximum fine of $250,000 and judges may, at their discretion, also order emotional harm reparations to be paid.

In the 20-minute hearing, Lance Rowe appeared for the prosecution before Judge Dugald Matheson.

Tasman Tanning has requested a restorative justice conference with the two workers worst affected by the exposure to the gas. Whanganui Restorative Justice Trust facilitator Sue Anderson was also in Court.

In her submission, Ms Burlace said the matters before the court were largely able to be resolved.

"We are still working on a summary of facts and there is no issue with the final resolution."

The company will meet the two primary victims - who were reported to be in Wellington Hospital for a week after a mix-up of chemicals was added to the wrong processor at the plant.

The combination with the chemicals in that processor caused a hydrogen sulphide cloud.

The victim impact statements will be part of a restorative justice report.

Judge Matheson requested that an agreed summary of facts, the restorative justice report and the victim impact statements be filed at court by January 17 to give the presiding judge time to look at them.

He adjourned sentencing to January 29 next year.

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