Forestry firm pays $120K over injury

Last updated 12:38 13/06/2014

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A forestry company has been ordered to pay $120,000 after one of its workers was hit by a log weighing more than a tonne.

Tau Henare was working on a logging operation at Whakaangiangi on the East Cape when the incident occurred in September 2012. 

His job was to attach strops to fallen logs, which were then dragged up a hillside to be prepared for transport away from the forest.

Henare was hit by a log that had come loose from a loader on a landing above and slid down a steep hillside. 

He suffered fractures to his arm and leg which required multiple surgeries and left him unable to work.

HarvestPro New Zealand Limited was found guilty at the Gisborne District Court under the Health and Safety in Employment Act of failing to take all practicable steps to protect the safety of Henare.

It was fined $80,000 and ordered to pay reparations of $40,000.

Judge Tony Adeane found the accident was caused by the decision to allow Henare to enter the danger zone at the same time another worker was using the loader to stack logs on the landing above him.

There were practical steps available to limit the hazard, including improved communication and effective supervision, the judge said.

WorkSafe general manager of health and safety operations Ona de Rooy said the work Henare was doing was inherently dangerous, and HarvestPro had a duty to do more to protect his safety.

WorkSafe was working with the forestry industry to improve safety standards, she said.

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