WorkSafe New Zealand v Glaziers Choice Ltd [2021] NZDC 13492

Published 09 September 2021

Sentencing — failing to ensure health and safety of workers — gantry crane — inadequate training and supervision — whether assessment by prosecutor reduces defendant's culpability — Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, ss 36(1)(a), 48(1), 48(2)(c), 151 & 152-158 — Sentencing Act 2002, ss 7 & 8 — Stumpmaster v WorkSafe New Zealand [2018] NZHC 2020, [2018] 3 NZLR 881 — WorkSafe New Zealand v Department of Corrections [2016] NZDC 24865, [2017] DCR 368 — Department of Labour v Hanham & Philp Contractors Ltd (2009) 9 NZELC 93, 095, (2008) 6 NZELR 79 — WorkSafe New Zealand Ltd v Metrapanel Ltd [2016] NZDC 25945, [2017] DCR 454 — WorkSafe New Zealand v Oropi Quarries Ltd [2016] NZDC 10755, [2017] DCR 97 — WorkSafe New Zealand v Skyline Buildings Ltd [2020] NZDC 10681 — WorkSafe New Zealand v Discoveries Educare Ltd [2019] NZDC 13056. The defendant company appeared for sentence on a charge of failing to ensure the health and safety of its workers, thereby exposing them to a risk of death or serious injury. The charge arose from an incident where one of the defendant's employees (the victim) was crushed by a gantry crane girder and suffered fatal injuries. The victim had been working unsupervised at the time of the accident; he was not qualified to operate a crane, and had been undergoing training prior to the accident. After examining similar cases, the Court awarded emotional harm reparations of $110,000 to the victim's family. In setting a fine, the Court stated that the defendant had committed some major health and safety failings, including unsafe storage of equipment and failing to ensure that its staff were properly trained and supervised. The defendant's culpability fell at the top of the medium band, with a start point for fine of $600,000. The Court allowed discounts for cooperation with the investigation, payment of reparations, willingness to undergo restorative justice, remedial steps taken, previous good character and guilty plea. The final fine was $270,000, as well as costs to the prosecution of $7254.31. The Court also made suppression orders relating to the victim's family and their victim impact statements. Judgment Date: 1 July 2021.