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Crushed to death

A New Zealand farmer has been ordered to pay $152,000 after a farm worker was crushed to death.

The worker was crushed between an excavator and tree stumps while helping to clear scrub at the Orepuki farm in Southland, said WorkSafe New Zealand in a media release.

Farmer Frederick McCullough was prosecuted in the Invercargill District Court in November for breaching the New Zealand Health and Safety in Employment Act.

McCullough was ordered to pay reparation of $100,000 and was fined $52,000 for the death of the worker in August 2013.

“McCullough should have identified a ‘safe area’ on site and ensured the employee was in it before driving or slewing (turning) the excavator. Safe areas are a simple but important way to protect workers,” said Keith Stewart, WorkSafe New Zealand’s chief investigator, in a media release.

“The excavator could also have had rear-vision mirrors and a travel alarm that warns people when the machine starts to move.

“This case is a sad reminder of the risks faced by people who work around heavy vehicles and in uncontrolled settings. Those risks have to be managed and minimised.”

For more details visit WorkSafe New Zealand

Published on 4 December 2014 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin

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