Forestry company HarvestPro has been ordered to pay $120,000 in fines and reparation after one of its workers was hit by a log weighing more than a tonne.

Tau Henare fractured his arm and leg when he was working on a logging operation at Whakaangiangi on the east coast in September 2012.

He was hit by a log that came loose from the jaws of a loader on a landing above and slid down a steep hillside.

The injuries required multiple surgeries and left him unable to work.


HarvestPro New Zealand Limited was found guilty at the Gisborne District Court under the Health and Safety in Employment Act of failing to take all practicable steps to protect the safety of Mr Henare.

Mr Henare had been allowed to enter a danger zone at the same time that another worker was using the loader to stack logs on the landing above him, Judge Tony Adeane found.

The work Mr Henare was doing was inherently dangerous, and HarvestPro had a duty to do more to protect his safety, WorkSafe New Zealand's general manager of health and safety operations Ona de Rooy said.

"Much of the forestry work in New Zealand is done on steep hillsides. It is not just the felling of trees that is dangerous - workers are at risk whenever logs are being handled and moved.

"WorkSafe NZ is working hard with the forestry industry to improve safety standards across the board. Our inspectors have carried out more than 220 inspections of log removal operations since August and issued almost 300 enforcement notices, including 25 prohibition notices."

The decision sent a "clear message to the industry".

HarvestPro was fined $80,000 and ordered to pay reparations of $40,000.