Mainfreight Limited

Court Summary - at a glance

Date of offence:
7 November 2013
 
Plea:
• Section 6: Guilty
• Section 13(a): Withdrawn
 
Decision:
• Section 6: Convicted
• Section 13(a): Withdrawn
 
Final decision date:
 
Fine imposed:
$32,500

Safety lessons learned:
  1. Ensure that a load is securely fastened before it left the depot; and
  2. Ensure that employees understand the risks associated with unloading wagons and specifically for identifying a significant hazard such as a bulge in the curtain before attempting to unload a wagon.

Defendant name:
Mainfreight Limited
 
Industry:
Postal, transport and warehousing
 
Date of offence:
7 November 2013
 
Facts in brief:
The Defendant company operates as a logistics provider with branches around the world. The Defendant’s Palmerston North depot is a modern freight facility which receives both road and rail freight transport units and has raised docks that enable freight to be loaded and unloaded at the floor level of railway wagons and trucks.

On the day of the incident, the victim, who had been employed as a storeman for three months, was working in a team of four unloading freight from railway wagons. Another employee attempted to unlatch the end of a curtain-sided railway wagon and the curtain would not release from the latch. The victim went over to assist and in the course of pulling on the curtain, an unsecured pallet fell from the wagon and struck his back. The pallet was loaded with steel wire mesh and steel staples with plastic wrapped around the load weighing 152 kilograms. The pallet fell from a height of approximately two metres.

The victim suffered bruising to the nerves in his spine and to his lower back. He initially lost feeling from the neck down, however, regained feeling and was discharged from hospital later that that day.
 
Offence section:
• Sections 6 and 50(1)(a) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
• Sections 13(a) and 50(1)(a) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
 
Date charged:

Court:
Palmerston North - District Court
 
Plea:
• Section 6: Guilty
• Section 13(a): Withdrawn
 
Final decision date:
 
Decision:
• Section 6: Convicted
• Section 13(a): Withdrawn
 
Fine imposed:
$32,500
 
Maximum fine available:
$250,000
 
Reparation:
$6,000