Auckland port fined $50k for hatch fall

  • 20/06/2016
Auckland port fined $50k for hatch fall

Ports of Auckland has been fined nearly $50,000 after a stevedore fell from an unguarded hatch lid that workers were using as a short cut.

The man broke his elbow and was knocked unconscious in the nearly 3m fall aboard the container ship Spirit of Independence in 2014. Last week the port admitted a health and safety charge in Auckland District Court.

The port was also ordered to pay the stevedore $12,000 in reparation.

The stevedore had been standing on the 1.7m-wide hatch lid while watching two others work on a container.

Larger generally workers used the hatch lids to get to containers because the ladders were designed for smaller people, Maritime NZ says.

The port knew that stevedores frequently used the easier, faster option rather than using the ladders, says MNZ's Harry Hawthorn.

However, the lack of safety rails was not identified at the ship-specific safety briefing for stevedores.

The port has a policy that stevedores stay at least 1.4m away from dangerous drops, but that was not widely known at the time and there was nothing about it in the training manuals, Mr Hawthorn said.

The prosecution followed port being fined $55,000 and ordered to pay $25,000 in reparation earlier this year to a man who was badly hurt, and unlikely to work as a stevedore again, after falling 15m into the water while working on containers aboard the Lica Maersk, also in 2014.