Director sentenced over worker death

The Auckland employer was prosecuted by WorkSafe NZ after an employee was killed in a fuel tank explosion

Director sentenced over worker death
An Auckland waste removal company and its director have been sentenced today after one of the firm’s employees was killed in a workplace accident.

Jamey Lee Bowring, an employee of Salter’s Cartage, was killed in September 2015 after the fuel tank he was welding on exploded.

A subsequent investigation by police and WorkSafe found that the 100,000 litre tank had been labelled as a diesel tank when in fact it held a combination of fuels and gas.

The investigation also found "widespread non-compliance" across the worksite, which also had “high hazards" and the ability to cause "catastrophic harm".

Today, Judge Richard John McIlraith sentenced company director and business owner Ronald Thomas Salter to four and a half months’ home detention.

Salter was also ordered to pay a $25,000 fine while the company was penalised a total of $258,750 for the death of the 24-year-old. The fine includes $110,000 in emotional harm reparation to Bowring’s family and more than $15,000 to a neighbouring business.

Judge McIlraith also noted that it was hard to find a case with a more catastrophic safety breach, and that punitive punishment for Salter was necessary.

Since the explosion, Salter's Cartage has spent $1.5 million to repair the site and bring it up to a higher level of safety compliance. Director Ronald Thomas Salter also established a welding scholarship in Bowring’s name.

Related stories:
No parole for former HR leader
Firm avoids prosecution despite safety failure

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