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WorkSafe New Zealand v Stoneyhurst Timbers Limited [2016] NZDC 17200

Published 15 February 2017

WorkSafe prosecution — failure to ensure safety of employee — failure to notify — Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, ss 6, 25, and 50 — Sentencing Act 2002, ss 32 and 85 — Department of Labour v Hanham and Philp Contractors Limited (2008) NZELR 79 — Machinery Act 1950. The defendant was sentenced on three charges. The first charge under ss 6 and 50(1)(a) was the failure to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees while working. The second and third charges were laid under ss 25(3)(a) and 50(1)(b) for failing to notify Worksafe New Zealand and its predecessor of accidents involving serious harm. The sentencing approach of "Hanham" was relied on, with reparation being fixed, then the fine amount, and finally an overall assessment of proportionality and appropriateness made. Reparation of $35,000 was ordered under s 32 of the Sentencing Act for the victim whose fingers were amputated in the accident. Total starting points for the fines of $190,000 was reduced in light of s 85 of the Sentencing Act to $160,000, and after taking into account guilty pleas and mitigating factors, the end fine was $90,000. A 25 year old conviction under the Machinery Act 1950 for failing to fence a saw blade did not result in an uplift due to the age of that conviction Judgment Date: 31 August 2016.