Unsupervised trainee killed at work

Glaziers Choice Limited, trading as Stake Glass, has been fined $270,000 by a Christchurch court after one of its employees was killed at work. The employee’s family was awarded $110,000 in reparation at the hearing on 1 July.

The fatal incident occured in January 2020 when the trainee was crushed by a pack lifter crane implement which was attached to a 2.5 tonne pack of glass.

The crane was controlled by a handheld remote control, and the employee had climbed up the pack lifter to hook the crane hook onto it.

WorkSafe’s investigation found that the victim, who was training to use the crane, used it without direct supervision and at the time of the incident was unsupervised. The business also had a generic and incomplete health and safety system, and its risk register was inadequate.

The investigation also found that crane implements should not be left attached to a load.

WorkSafe Area Investigation Manager Steve Kelly says the situation could have been completely avoided if the employee had been properly supervised while he was being trained, and if the pack lifter was stored without a load attached.

“This is a situation that reinforces the need for proper health and safety systems to be in place. Employees that are not competent in operating machinery must be effectively supervised.”

  • The company was sentenced on Thursday 1 July at the Christchurch District Court.
  • A fine of $270,000 was imposed.
  • Reparation of $110,000 was ordered to be paid to the victim’s family

The Buzz says: As is usual, the government was awarded more than the victim’s family. The reparation was likely around two years’ wages. This is simply not good enough.