'A lack of safe work systems has cost a worker his life'

The practice adopted by the company departed from health and safety guidelines and ended in tragedy

'A lack of safe work systems has cost a worker his life'

Export logging firm Guru NZ Limited has been sentenced after a worker suffered fatal crushing injuries.

The Mangere-based company was ordered to pay a fine of $330,750 at the Manukau District Court after a worker was crushed between a shipping container and the grapple of an excavator in September 2017.

The worker later died from injuries sustained.

At the time of the incident the victim was helping a colleague to close doors on a container filled with logs for export.

The majority of the containers were closed manually, however when containers became distorted an excavator was used to assist workers on the ground to shut its doors.

WorkSafe’s Chief Inspector Steve Kelly said WorkSafe’s investigation found no workers should have been within seven metres of the excavator while it was in use.

“The risks of crushing injuries are well-known in the logging industry. Workers on foot in these environments should not be in close proximity to any kind of heavy machinery,” he said.

Kelly said the practice adopted by the company departed from health and safety guidelines and ended in tragedy.

“Guru NZ Limited should have ensured there was an enforced exclusion zone on site to separate workers from machinery with the ability to kill or injure,” said Kelly.

“A lack of safe work systems has cost a worker his life and a family their father, partner and son.”

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