Friday, 11 May 2018 08:25

Tractor driver worked almost 200 hours in two weeks before fatal crash

Written by 
WorkSafe is warning employers that fatigue from long hours of work must not compromise worker safety. WorkSafe is warning employers that fatigue from long hours of work must not compromise worker safety.

WorkSafe is warning employers that fatigue from long hours of work must not compromise worker safety.

“Getting the job done is important, but not if the hours required to do it put workers at risk of injury or death,” says WorkSafe deputy general manager, investigations and specialist services, Simon Humphries.

His comments follow the sentencing of agricultural contractor Micheal Vining Contracting Limited in Huntly District Court.

The company was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $80,000 reparation plus $2656 in court costs.

In October 2016, a worker for the company had been assisting with harvesting operations on a farm in Pukekawa. He logged a 16.75 hour day before departing the farm, taking a tractor home in preparation for the next day’s work.  At 2.45am he crashed the tractor and died as a result of injuries sustained during the accident.

WorkSafe’s investigation found that the worker had worked 197.25 hours in the two weeks leading up to the incident. Fatigue was identified as the most likely cause of the accident. The worker was also not wearing a seatbelt.

The company had a health and safety document prepared for them in January 2016. It identified fatigue as a high rating hazard and outlined management steps including the monitoring of work hours and break times. 

“This document had not been reviewed or implemented,” Humphries says. “The warning was there and the company did nothing about it”.

“Seasonal work and tasks like harvest can put a huge amount of pressure on everyone involved.  Managing the risks is essential.   The life, health and wellbeing of your workers must be your number one priority”.

 

More like this

Frustrating lack of support for rural nurses

Many rural nurses hold “incredible frustration” at the lack of support to move forward to become nursing practitioners says Sue Adams, a senior lecturer at Massey University’s School of Nursing.

Shearathon raises $44k for mental health

The Herlihy family’s 24-hour charity Shearathon, raising money for mental health and suicide prevention in the shearing industry, could become an annual fixture following the success of the recent North Canterbury event.  

Good health & safety is good business

The steps that lead to good business are the same as those that lead to good health and safety practices, says Al McCone, sector leader for agriculture at WorkSafe New Zealand.

Farming’s appalling death rate

Agriculture is the industry with the highest number of workplace fatalities – about 124 deaths since 2011, says WorkSafe chief executive Nicole Rosie.

Time for a culture change

It makes grim reading to see that agricultural deaths have numbered 124 over the last seven years – about four times higher than in construction or forestry.

 
 

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Silence is golden

The Hound notes that former ag minister Nathan Guy is settling into the role of opposition MP and having a…

Easy answer

It takes a bit to make your canine crusader raise his eyebrows at the hypocrisy of these do-gooder outfits with…

 
 

» Connect with Rural News