The death of a young employee after being crushed has led Work safe to investigate a trucking company in Hamilton, which has been found significantly lacking safety effects and procedures.
The Hamilton District Court had issued a permanent suppression for the name of the 18-year-old yard worker who had been crushed to death. His employer Altranz, a company that handles trucking in Hamilton, had also been granted $75,000 worth of reduced fines because of financial limitations. Judge Maree Mackenzie had, because of “commercial sensitivity”, restricted the details pertaining to Altranz’s financial state as well when the trucking company had been sentenced and judged to pay $105,000 to the young worker’s family as reparation, with an added $3,764.20 for costs.
The young yard hand had only been working for five months when the stabiliser legs of a shipping container side loader had crushed him as it was being stowed away to a distribution centre in Torpedo 7 on Sharpe Rd, which had been near Hamilton International Airport. He and a fellow employee had two shipping containers then needed to deliver. It is said he remained standing in the hazard zone when he underwent the process of helping the operator, which had become the premise for his death.
As a result, Altranz had been charged with the failure to secure the safety of its employees by exposing him to danger that led to the 18-year-old’s death. The company itself has failed to note the effectiveness of the controls and the danger of the stabiliser legs possessed, while at the same time failing to develop a proper operating procedure to ensure the safety of people and employees when close to or in danger of the side loader. The judge had deemed this neglect as a whole step down from industry standards.
Reparations to the family first began with $700,000 but after appeals and discounts, it was reduced to $367,500, which was then cut to only $75,000. Judge Mackenzie reasoned the fine charged to the company should not devour it financially. She has also stated that Altranz had accepted they had proper safety procedures in place, but had not checked up on them build on the belief that it had been enough.