Take care when creating dust

Always check the conditions, you will be held responsible even if something that seems out of your control happens, so please be aware of the weather and consider the risks accordingly.

A Bay of Plenty company was prosecuted and a fine of $360,000 was imposed, along with emotional harm reparations of $210,000 and consequential loss reparations of $88,649.

Judgement went on to say the driver “was spreading in circumstances where the wind caused third party risk, was unaware of what was occurring before she stopped and when, finally, a decision to stop was made it was too late”.

A WorkSafe investigation found the company failed to undertake an appropriate risk assessment and did not implement a safe system of work for spreading fertiliser on the farm – exposing other people to serious injury and death.

“It’s only by luck that there were no further fatalities on the motorway that day. Although the circumstances are uniquely sad, this incident could have happened anywhere in the country so the agriculture sector more widely should take notice,” says Worksafe’s investigation manager Paul West.

“All industry guidance makes clear that there is a risk of wind drift. Agricultural lime is a dusty product that can cause a reduction in visibility, depending on how it is handled or local weather conditions. This risk should be assessed before use, including the impact on operators, farmers, nearby moving vehicles, and the public.”

Being a PCBU having a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of other persons is not put at risk from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking, namely the spreading of ground lime fertiliser. The maximum penalty is a fine not exceeding $1.5 million.

In his decision, Judge Mabey noted the fertiliser truck driver “had no control over what the wind was doing to the product, but that is the point”.

Source Sun Media