New Zealand School of Outdoor Studies Limited

Court Summary - at a glance

Date of offence:
28 April 2014
 
Plea:
• Section 16(2)(b)(i): Guilty
• Section 16(2)(b)(i): Withdrawn
• Regulation 48(1): Withdrawn
 
Decision:
• Section 16(2)(b)(i): Convicted
• Section 16(2)(b)(i): Withdrawn
• Regulation 48(1): Withdrawn
 
Final decision date:
 
Fine imposed:
$53,625

Safety lessons learned:
  1. Ensure an adequate risk assessment is undertaken for training dives;
  2. Ensure appropriate measures are in place to check the background of trainees in the context of training dives and that all pre-requisite requirements are met; and
  3. When concerns are noticed regarding a trainee’s competency or they fail an assessment, ensure additional measures are taken such as suspending the course until competency requirements are met and providing additional supervision.

Defendant name:
New Zealand School of Outdoor Studies Limited
 
Industry:
Education and training
 
Date of offence:
28 April 2014
 
Facts in brief:
The Defendant company, trading as the New Zealand School of Commercial Diver Training provides commercial dive courses and occupational diver training and was at the relevant time an Accredited Training Establishment under the Australian Diver Accreditation System (ADAS).

The victim was taking part in a training course based at Lake Puketerini, Huntly. The victim did not meet the preliminary requirements for the course of having logged ten eligible dives and failed to complete a 200m swim test on the day of the incident, to the extent he had to be assisted ashore. He had not completed mandatory first aid assessment and certification prior to diving. He was also observed having difficulties dressing into his scuba equipment. On the day of the incident, the first day of week two of the course and the first day of diving, there were poor visibility conditions. The trainees lost sight of the supervisor in the Lake. After about six minutes in the water, the victim was observed at the surface without his dive mask or breathing regulator and appearing to be in distress. The required risk assessment that was completed prior to the dive was inadequate in a number of critical areas.

The victim was found at the bottom of the Lake by another trainee after a search lasting several minutes. Attempts on the shore to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. The cause of death was drowning.
 
Related prosecutions:
 
Offence section:
• Sections 16(2)(b)(i) and 50(1)(a) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 x2
• Regulation 48(1) of the Health and Safety in Employment Regulations 1995 and section 50(1)(a) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
 
Date charged:

Court:
Hamilton - District Court
 
Plea:
• Section 16(2)(b)(i): Guilty
• Section 16(2)(b)(i): Withdrawn
• Regulation 48(1): Withdrawn
 
Final decision date:
 
Decision:
• Section 16(2)(b)(i): Convicted
• Section 16(2)(b)(i): Withdrawn
• Regulation 48(1): Withdrawn
 
Fine imposed:
$53,625
 
Maximum fine available:
$250,000
 
Reparation:
$150,610.50 ($125,000 emotional harm reparation plus $25,610.50 for financial costs incurred by the family)