Court increases Safe Air fine

IAN ALLEN
Last updated 09:53 16/10/2012

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The punishment imposed on Safe Air after one of its engineers was killed at work last year has been increased after an appeal.

In a decision released yesterday, the High Court increased the fine by $13,750.

The Air New Zealand subsidiary, based at Woodbourne airfield, near Blenheim, was originally fined $56,250 and ordered to pay reparation of $22,500 after a hearing in Blenheim District Court in May.

Fairfax does not have a copy of the decision but according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the reparation payment was not changed on appeal.

The ministry appealed against the punishment to the High Court. Southern general manager Jean Martin said the case involved a serious failure that was not adequately reflected by the original fine.

"This decision should send a clear message to employers of the need to not only identify, but also to adequately control, all hazards to their employees at work. It also serves as a sad reminder of the consequences of failing to do so."

Renwick man Miles Hunter died while working on an engine at Woodbourne airfield on August 8 last year.

He was sucked into a C-130 Hercules engine fixed to an outdoor test-bed.

Safe Air, which specialises in aviation maintenance and repair, was convicted on May 30 on one charge under the Health and Safety Act.

Martin said the ministry was committed to ensuring a safe workplace for New Zealanders and took seriously all cases where failures exposed workers to serious harm.

Safe Air general manager Heather Deacon said the company had accepted responsibility but was disappointed by the appeal.

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- The Marlborough Express

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