Death costs Zespri $250k
Zespri has voluntarily paid $250,000 towards safety measures following the death of an orchard worker in a quad bike accident, including $25,000 to the family of the worker.
WorkSafe accepted what is called an ‘‘enforceable undertaking’’ - an alternative to a prosecution - from the kiwifruit co-operative. Three other parties have been charged with the death which occurred on a Tauranga orchard in May 2016.
They include a contracting company, the grower and a packhouse. This case is one of the first multi-party prosecutions undertaken by WorkSafe, and the fourth enforceable undertaking accepted.
Zespri has pledged to fund a number of measures to improve safety, ranging from health and safety reviews of contractors, education, industry-wide research, sponsoring and promoting the Horticultural Health and Safety Forum, and establishing a tertiary scholarship for accredited health and safety studies.
The accident occurred when a worker was collecting samples of kiwifruit to check whether they were mature or not.
WorkSafe alleged Zespri failed to ensure the safety of the worker, who was an employee of AgFirst Bay of Plenty. Zespri had contracted AgFirst to carry out the maturity sampling.
WorkSafe said Zespri had failed to design and implement an effective sys- tem to ensure orchard maps produced by growers and supplied to AgFirst recorded potential hazards, including those posed to the maturity sample collectors.
It had also failed to ensure the workers received an induction at each orchard site pointing out potential hazards including steep terrain.
The family of the worker had been contacted and were satisfied with the outcome. The victim’s daughter was supportive of an enforceable undertaking as an alternative to a prosecution.
The worker died in a quad bike accident while collecting samples of kiwifruit on a Tauranga orchard.