A mining company at the centre of a WorkSafe New Zealand investigation following the death of a worker has been fined.

Oceana Gold was fined $378,000 in a decision released yesterday, following its sentencing in the Tauranga District Court in March.

In July 2016, a man had been driving an earthmoving machine underground when it fell 15 metres off a vertical edge. The worker did not survive.

A WorkSafe investigation found that Oceana Gold had failed to develop and implement a safe system of work for the creation of 1.5 metre high bunds above vertical slopes.


Oceana Gold had identified the risk and the solution of bunds to reduce the risk of a vehicle falling into a void. However, they had not effectively mitigated the risks involved in implementing that solution.

WorkSafe's Craig Marriott said: "Health and safety law requires every business to manage risks to workers."

"It's a non-negotiable requirement and this case has highlighted that the requirement extends to the risks inherent in the actions taken to mitigate known risks."

Following the incident, Oceana Gold developed an innovative, non-industry-standard procedure for placing steel bollards along open slopes, to stop an incident like this from happening again.

The company was also ordered to pay $350,000 in reparation. Voluntary reparations totalling $660,000 have already been paid. Costs of $3672 were also ordered.

The maximum penalty was a $1.5 million fine.