WorkSafe accepts enforceable undertakings | IMPAC health and safety 16

21 June, 2018  |  News


WorkSafe have announced that they have accepted enforceable undertakings from air conditioning and refrigeration company Airtech Limited, and vegetable packaging and marketing company NZ Hot House Limited, following an incident in July 2016 where workers were accidentally exposed to carbon monoxide.

After two hours cleaning an evaporator unit in a chiller, an Airtech worker began to feel unwell and stopped working. Another Airtech worker and a NZ Hot House forklift operator continued working on the unit until they both fainted due to carbon monoxide exposure.

 

rtAdobeStock 66913204WorkSafe has accepted enforceable undertakings following the carbon monoxide exposure of 3 workers.


WorkSafe’s findings

According to the media release, WorkSafe “found that Airtech had not identified or mitigated the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in the chiller from the use of an LPG-powered forklift.

NZ Hot House had not developed and implemented a safe system of work for use of LPG forklifts, or developed and authorised an adequate contractor management system.”


Preventative initiatives

The affected employees are supportive of the enforceable undertakings and both companies are committed to preventative initiatives.


Airtech Limited has committed to:

  • Providing amends in the form of payment to the victims
  • Developing a risk management tool for workers in the industry including a mobile device risk assessment system
  • Hosting seminars for industry and making the risk assessment material freely available to interested parties
  • Producing an educational video and article
  • Making a charitable donation


NZ Hot House has committed to:

  • Providing amends in the form of payment, support, and ACC top-up to the victims
  • Offering staff one paid safety day to attend a course, conference, or safety event, conducting an in-house safety day for all staff, and a half day mock incident drill to train staff
  • Commissioning a report on the benefits of worker safety in horticulture by implementing literacy and numeracy initiatives
  • Commissioning an article for publication discussing the incident
  • Presenting to industry bodies regarding the incident
  • Creating a horticultural safety intern programme for a local school leaver


What’s an enforceable undertaking?

An enforceable undertaking is an agreement between WorkSafe and a duty holder made under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA). It is entered into voluntarily by the duty holder following a breach (including an alleged breach) of HSWA and, once in place, is legally binding.

Although it is used as an alternative to prosecution, WorkSafe say it should not be viewed as an easy option. Read more about enforceable undertakings on the WorkSafe website.