The importance of systematic maintenance and proper fault management of machinery in workplaces has been highlighted today at the sentencing of the Lyttelton Port Company (LPC) for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure its employees’ safety.
WorkSafe’s Chief Inspector Keith Stewart said after the sentencing that companies using any machinery in their work must ensure the machinery is maintained according to manufacturers’ instructions and must have an effective system in place to identify faults.
“If faults are found, they must be documented, the machine taken out of service for assessment and workers advised of the faults and whether or not the machinery can be used,” he said.
His comments follow an investigation and prosecution of LPC after the Rail and Maritime Union raised concerns with the company, and later WorkSafe, about the use of a cherry picker (a mobile elevated work platform) at the port. Issues about the use of the cherry picker were raised with the company the day after a fatality occurred on a scissor lift (another form of mobile elevated work platform) at the port. Two weeks later, a mechanical fault with the cherry picker was discovered and it was not removed from service.
“WorkSafe investigated the complaint and found that while there had been no injury to workers, there were multiple failings in the company’s management of the cherry picker that could easily have led to a worker being injured,” Mr Stewart said.
LPC was fined $75,000 at the Christchurch District Court on Friday 5 August.