A Marlborough logging firm has been fined $86,400 and ordered to pay $65,000 in reparation following the death of a worker hit by a dead branch while working in Awatere Valley.

Blacklaws Logging Limited had ceased trading since the accident on February 17 last year and because there were limited funds left in its account, it would pay only $20,000 of the fine imposed, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said today.

The company's insurance company would pay the full reparation to the victim's family.

Blenheim District Court was told that the owner of the company and two employees were contracted to fell trees on Glenlee Station.


While they were working, a piece of dead branch broke off and hit one man, who died at the scene, MBIE said.

The judge accepted MBIE's position that the offending was of high culpability and that isolation of the hazard was readily available and easy to achieve.

"It is important to ensure that hazards are not only identified but are also well controlled. In this case, adequate controls were not implemented to enable the identified hazard to be managed properly. Ultimately, a lack of hazard control, a lack of communication and not dealing with this hung-up branch in the approved manner have had catastrophic consequences, resulting in the death of a man," said MBIE Health and Safety Southern Division general manager Francois Barton.