Ports of Auckland Fined After Worker Injured in Fall

Ports of Auckland Ltd. (POAL) has been fined NZD 49,980 (USD 35,551) and ordered to pay NZD 12,000 in reparations after a stevedore employed by the company fell nearly three meters off the unguarded edge of a hatch lid, suffering injuries.

POAL pleaded guilty to a charge laid by Maritime NZ  under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees at work and was sentenced in Auckland District Court on 17 June 2016.

“This sentence highlights the need for those managing workers on board ships to ensure that not only are measures in place to ensure workers are safe, but that these measures are communicated properly,” Harry Hawthorn, Maritime NZ General Manager Maritime Compliance, said

The stevedore was working aboard the container ship Spirit of Independence on 11 October 2014 , observing the foreman and another worker de-lash a container, when he stepped off the edge of the hatch lid and fell around 3 meters meters to the deck. This left the worker temporarily unconscious and he fractured his elbow.

The hatch lid was 1.7 meters wide and no safety rails were fitted.

“POAL knew that stevedores frequently used the easier, faster option of walking across the hatch lid rather than using the ladders – but the lack of safety rails on the hatch was not identified at the ship specific safety briefing for stevedores,” Hawthorn further said.

“While the company stated it had a policy that stevedores stay at least 1.4m away from the edges where a fall could occur, this was not widely known by workers on the date of the incident. No requirement appears in documents used to train container lashers,” he added.

In March 2015, POAL was fined USD 55,000 and ordered to pay USD 25,000 in reparation to a stevedore who suffered serious injuries unloading a container ship when he fell 15 meters from the top of a container.

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