14 Jan 2014

Hefty fine for forestry worker's death

8:31 pm on 14 January 2014

WorkSafe NZ says a hefty fine imposed on a forestry contractor for the death of an employee is a clear signal to the industry that preventable deaths and injuries will be taken very seriously.

Robert Ruri-Epapara, 23, was crushed and killed by a tree while working in the Waione Forest on 26 March last year.

His employer, Complete Logging Ltd, pleaded guilty late last year to a charge of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of an employee under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

In the Rotorua District Court on Tuesday, the company was fined $60,000 and ordered to pay Mr

Ruri-Epapara's family $75,000.

WorkSafe NZ said the company had not laid out a logging plan for the day Mr Ruri-Epapara was killed and he had not been provided with a radio to talk with other workers.

It said if Complete Logging Ltd had applied the approved code of practice for forest harvesting, the man may not have died.