14 Nov 2014

Farmer fined for worker death

5:11 pm on 14 November 2014

WorkSafe New Zealand says a case in which a Southland farmer was ordered to pay $152,000 in reparation and fines after a death on his farm is a reminder that people and machinery don't mix.

Nicholas McKenzie, 51, was helping clear scrub at an Orepuki farm in August 2013 when he was crushed between an excavator and tree stumps.

Frederick McCullough has been sentenced in the Invercargill District Court for not ensuring his employee's safety. He must pay $100,000 in reparation and $52,000 in fines.

WorkSafe's chief investigator Keith Stewart told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme today that some simple steps could have been taken to avoid the tragedy.

"What they should have done was identify that it was a safe area for Mr McKenzie to work in. It's a pretty standard process to understand that people and machinery don't mix ... He could've done a simple thing like put some rear vision mirrors on the excavator so he could see when he was reversing."

A digger working to extract tree stumps on a farm.

A digger working to extract tree stumps on a farm. Photo: PHOTO NZ