WorkSafe drops charges against Trevelyan's over 2022 forklift incident

WorkSafe accepts enforceable undertaking from Trevelyan's on enhancing workplace safety

WorkSafe drops charges against Trevelyan's over 2022 forklift incident

WorkSafe New Zealand has dropped its charges against a "major player" in the kiwifruit industry that was involved in a workplace safety incident in April 2022.

Trevelyan's Pack and Cool Limited was charged by WorkSafe after an employee's lower left leg had to get amputated because it was run over by a reversing forklift.

WorkSafe's investigation found that Trevelyan's traffic management plan for at the incident site was deficient, with forklifts and workers clearly not kept separate.

According to WorkSafe's charges, Trevelyan's failed to comply with its duty to ensure health and safety of its workers while they are at work.

Charges dropped

But WorkSafe dropped the charges after it accepted in March an enforceable undertaking (EU) put forward by Trevelyan's.

Under the EU, Trevelyan's makes a commitment to deliver a $500,000-worth of safety initiatives including:

  • An AI pedestrian detection system fitted to 40 forklifts to improve safety and reduce risks.
  • Collaborating with the kiwifruit industry to spread the uptake of this technology and enhance safety.
  • Investing in training to improve health and safety competency across the business.
  • Reparation to the victim.
  • Funding for the Amputee Society of Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Districts.
  • Funding scholarships for the Health and Safety Association of New Zealand.

In accepting the EU, the safety regulator said it "meets the requirements of WorkSafe's Enforceable Undertakings Operational Policy (September 2019)."

"Trevelyan's investment to improve safety in their workplace is the preferred solution in this case. It demonstrates a substantial commitment to health and safety which may not have been achieved by prosecution," said Catalijne Pille, WorkSafe's regulatory support manager, in a statement.

Commitment to safety

James Trevelyan, managing director at Trevelyan's Pack and Cool Limited, has also underscored its commitment in ensuring the forklift incident does not reoccur.

"Trevelyan's Pack & Cool Limited places the highest priority on the health and well-being of all Trevelyan's staff, growers, suppliers, and community," he said in a statement.

"This commitment not only reflects our obligations under the Health & Safety at Work Act 2015 but is also a testament to our genuine concern for each individual associated with us."

The victim of the forklift incident also said he was pleased with Trevelyan's commitment to safety.

"I didn't want to tell my story in court, but I'm pleased to see Trevelyan's invest in making its site safer as I do not want anybody else to go through my experience," the victim said in a statement.

According to the victim, the injury had a "very bad effect" on his retirement savings, as he planned on working for another five or 10 years.

Part of Trevelyan's EU is to provide reparation to the victim.

"Trevelyan's Pack and Cool Limited is not only committed to investing in the health and safety of our workforce and the broader industry, but also in actively supporting the injured person and his family," Trevelyan said.

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