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A young untrained worker was on his second day on the job at a mechanics workshop in Cambridge, when he was crushed by the six tonne truck he was working under.

GTT Mechanical 2018 Limited was sentenced at the Hamilton District Court last Friday following a WorkSafe investigation into the November 2018 incident, for failure to ensure the victim’s health and safety at work.

WorkSafe’s Acting Chief Inspector Danielle Henry said WorkSafe’s investigation identified a number of health and safety failings arising out of the incident which left the worker seriously injured.

“The worker was a trainee and was unsupervised at the time of the incident. The task he had been asked to complete included removing parts of the truck which disabled the cardan shaft hand brake.

“The truck had been driven onto wooden blocks to allow the worker access underneath it, creating a hazardous environment. The truck was located on a slight incline leading to it rolling off the wooden blocks and onto the worker,” she said.

“You must use the correct equipment when working underneath vehicles. In this case axle stands or a vehicle hoist would have been most appropriate – not stacks of wooden blocks.”

Ms Henry said the young man had only been employed by GTT Mechanical 2018 Limited for two days at the time of the incident.

“The victim suffered from fractures to his ribs, pelvis and sternum, a punctured lung and nerve damage and spent almost two months in hospital.

“The worker was considered a trainee, yet the company had no formal training programme in place to monitor, supervise and progress them in their work.”

“Working with heavy machinery is dangerous stuff and to expose an inexperienced worker to that level of risk, without appropriate mitigation or training is totally unacceptable.”

Notes:

  • While the judge considered a starting point for a fine for this company would have been $400,000 after considering all other matters imposed a fine of $20,000.
  • GTT Mechanical 2018 Limited was sentenced under sections 36(1)(a), 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, the health and safety of workers who worked for the PCBU, while the workers were at work in the business or undertaking, namely GTT Mechanical 2018 Limited’s mechanical workshop, and that failure exposed workers to a risk of serious injury or death, arising from working beneath raised vehicles.
  • S 48(2)(c) carries a maximum penalty of $1,500,000.

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