New Zealand Company Paying $180,000 After Driver Dies on First Workday

"This was a tragic example of what can happen when training is not provided," said WorkSafe Chief Inspector Keith Stewart. "As an agent of Hawke, Mr. Thompson failed to ensure that the victim was trained to do his job safely. Employees and contractors should be fully equipped to manage any work-related risk so they can go home to their families at the end of each working day, let alone on the first day of work."

A Gisborne, New Zealand-based logging transport company's manager has been fined $80,000 and ordered to pay reparations of $100,000 after the death of a worker who was fatally run over during his first day on the job, WorkSafe New Zealand reported recently. Its report said James Walter Beau Thompson pleaded guilty to one charge under the Health and Safety in Employment Act for failing to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of Dallas Wayne Hickey. He was driving a truck and trailer unit loaded with logs on Feb. 13, 2014; while the truck was still moving, Hickey exited the cab and became caught under the rear wheel of the truck, suffering fatal injuries.

He worked for logging transport company Hawke Equipment Limited, and Thompson ran Hawke's Gisborne log operations.

WorkSafe New Zealand's investigation found that Thompson had failed to undertake proper checks or make an in-cab assessment of Hickey's driving skills, ensuring he was familiar with the vehicle, and orientation into the forestry site.

"This was a tragic example of what can happen when training is not provided," said WorkSafe Chief Inspector Keith Stewart. "As an agent of Hawke, Mr. Thompson failed to ensure that the victim was trained to do his job safely. Employees and contractors should be fully equipped to manage any work-related risk so they can go home to their families at the end of each working day, let alone on the first day of work."

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