Firm to pay $104K over Waikato hopper death

Last updated 11:44 09/04/2014

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A Waikato company has been fined $33,750 and ordered to pay $70,000 reparation after a worker was killed in a hopper.

Tyler Old died in June last year in the hopper of a fertiliser truck he was operating on a dairy farm in Matamata.

His employer, Wealleans Groundspread, pleaded guilty in the Morrinsville District Court to a charge of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure Old's safety, and was sentenced yesterday.

The company's health and safety handbook stated employees should never climb into the hopper when the chain was going, but there were no prominent signs on the truck warning of the dangers of doing so, the court was told.

Safety regulator WorkSafe's chief investigator, Keith Stewart, said that as well as putting warning signs on the vehicle Wealleans Groundspread could have taken a number of simple steps to protect its workers.

"The footholds and handholds on the side of the truck were inadequate to allow Mr Old to safely lean over the side wall of the hopper and push any fertiliser that was stuck, down on to the chain conveyor," he said.

"The company could also have provided a tool with a reach long enough to reach any residual fertiliser instead of the standard spade that was made available."

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- Fairfax Media

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