A warning sign, "wrong" drawings of wiring, and a key electrician who was replaced were among elements involved in the circumstances leading up to the death of a man who was fatally crushed while on the job, a coroner's court has heard.
The worker, who has name suppression, was fatally crushed between a container and the side-loader vehicle he was operating on March 14, 2016.
The incident happened at a Totara St yard owned by the Port of Tauranga and leased to the worker's employer, Coda Operations Limited Partnership (Coda) from which Priority Logistics operates
The death prompted a WorkSafe investigation and criminal court case, which resulted in Coda being fined $52,500 and ordered to pay $110,000 compensation to the man's whānau.
Plant manufacturer and supplier Hammar New Zealand Limited was also fined $25,600 after admitting it failed to take all practicable steps to ensure the plant was designed, made, and maintained so it was safe for its intended use.
At Tauranga District Court on Thursday, Hammar director Ian Johnston was the last witness to testify in the inquest into the worker's death.
Johnston confirmed there had been a warning sign on the truck on the day of the incident.
When counsel David Fraundorder, representing Coda, referred to photos of the vehicle he said the warning sign looked "pretty small to me" compared to the size of registration certificates.
Johnston agreed but did not say any more on the reasons for the warning sign.
Throughout the inquest, there have been references to Hammar carrying out a conversion in 2011 on the vehicle that would later be involved in the worker's death - changing it from a 151 model to a 155 version. It was the first conversion of its kind in New Zealand.
Johnston told the court the conversion involved proximity sensors being moved and wiring adjusted. The work was carried out by the same contracted electrician who worked on all Hammar side-loaders leading up to and after the death.
The court heard the contractor had Parkinson's Disease during this time and with the introduction of some technology changes, the contractor was eventually replaced. The contractor was expected to be aged in his 80s now.
Two wiring diagrams for the side-loader, used in investigations into the incident, were presented in court but neither was correct, Johnston said.
A third wiring diagram, not presented in court, with the contractor's notes on it was the correct version and it was significantly different, he said.
Johnston disagreed with any suggestion, as previously heard throughout the inquest, the truck's switches were wired incorrectly but explained it was understandable people would think so.
"If you've got a wrong drawing and then you look at a piece of equipment and it's wrongly wired, of course they're going to disagree. So I think it's a case of a double negative. We've got a wrong drawing trying to compare something that looks wrong, so your assumption that you start with is wrong in the first instance."
Johnston said he felt it would be a "very good idea" if Coda used approved service providers in Tauranga for any work being done on the units, which were capable of doing a million lifts.
Johnston said he had been working with the National Roads Council at potentially doing an annual trailer inspection similar to a Warrant of Fitness in an effort to keep on top of units and/or their parts becoming fatigued.
Counsel Genevieve Haszard, representing the worker's whānau, asked Johnston whether it was possible if the worker, manually carrying out a lift, would need to walk to a lever at one end of the truck to get its arms in position, then walk to the other end of the unit to use the levers at that end.
She asked if it was possible the worker could walk on the driver's side of the unit, where the container would be lifted.
He said it was, however, "You'd have to have rocks in your head if you were doing a lift and wanting to walk that way".
When asked about overloaded containers, Johnston said some vehicles had digital weight displays to indicate if a container is too heavy. Drivers using units without these "can tell by the sound of the engine straining ... if the container is overloaded".
Under questioning from Coroner Matthew Bates, Johnston admitted there were "many, many lifters around" without digital readouts, which were not easily fitted and not cheap.
Coroner: "So it's a difficult job, it's an expensive job, it's not something that good business practice would lead you to consider?"
Johnston said there were other weighing systems that could be used to give "a pretty good indicator what the load is on".
All new Hammar units, replacing older versions, were fitted with digital weighing technology, Johnston said.
The inquest ended with a karakia.
The coroner will now take time to make and release his findings.