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Company Receives Record Fine for Workplace Accident

A recycling company in New Zealand has received a record fine for failing to prevent a workplace accident last year that cost an employee both his legs. Ben Hekenui, 37, was trapped in an automatic baler press in April of last year.

Last week a judge fined the company $100,000 on two charges of breaching health and safety regulations. The maximum fine for reach charge is $250,000. In addition, the company is required to $76,900 to reparation to the injured employee.

According to the Department of Labour counsel, the company’s health and safety policies were “ad hoc.” He claimed the company had inherited a health and safety manual from the company’s previous owner and lacked a process for identifying hazards. The company is about to be voluntarily liquidated but vowed it will make reparation payments to the workplace accident victim.

“I’m not sure how long it will take but it will certainly be made,” said a company director.

Record fine after workplace accident, Taranaki Daily News, March 12, 2009
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