24 January 2018
Use the gear you’ve got
That is the lesson following the sentencing of Stumpmaster Limited today in the North Shore District Court. Stumpmaster was cutting down a palm tree from a property when a woman walked into the path of the falling tree. The victim suffered fractures and a laceration which required six days hospitalisation.
Safety gear is no good when it is sitting in your vehicle – and it needs to be used properly.
WorkSafe’s investigation found that there was no effective exclusion zone around the tree work to ensure public safety. Stumpmaster had placed three cones in the area, but they were not placed two tree-lengths from the tree being felled and there was no attempt to cordon off the area to restrict access or notify the public of the works.
Stumpmaster had suitable signage available at its office and extendable barriers and tape in its vehicle at the site.
WorkSafe’s Deputy General Manager, Investigations and Specialist Services Simon Humphries said that the incident was completely avoidable.
“Stumpmaster had extendable barriers and tape available to mark out an exclusion zone but chose not to use it. As a result, an innocent party has received traumatic injuries.”
“You are responsible for ensuring that other people are not put at risk by the work of your business. This includes members of the public who could be affected by a work activity”.
- Stumpmaster Limited was convicted and fined $90,000 and ordered to pay $18,500 reparation to the victim.
- Stumpmaster Limited was sentenced under sections 36(2), 48(1) and (2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
- Being a PCBU, failed to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of other persons was not put at risk from work being carried out as part of conduct of the business or undertaking, and that failure exposed other persons to a risk of death or serious injury.
- The maximum penalty was a fine not exceeding $1,500,000.
The lesson from this case is the importance of ensuring all your safety risk controls are in place and that the mechanisms are also in place to provide assurance over control effectiveness.
The latest estimate for failure to adequately address safety concerns globally has been put at 3.9% of the global GDP. In dollar terms that is US$2.99 Trillion.