Truck accident costs firm $100k

  • 19/04/2016

An agricultural firm has been ordered to pay more than $100,000 after one of its mechanics was crushed underneath a nine-tonne truck hoist.

The mechanic and another employee of the John Austin Ltd were working on a truck at a Morrinsville farm in February last year when they were asked to inspect another truck with a broken hoist.

Believing they had fixed the hoist, the truck reversed and the hoist was lifted to dump its load of maize but halfway up it stopped.

The mechanic wedged a wooden railway sleeper into the hoist's hinge so he could get a closer look but a valve burst and the hoist's weight snapped the plank and crashed down on top of the mechanic.

He spent several months in hospital after suffering two severe breaks to his pelvis, deep bruising and nerve damage as well as post-traumatic stress. It is also unlikely he will regain full use of one of his legs.

WorkSafe chief inspector Keith Stewart said the company should have had steps in place to ensure their employee could safely inspect the hoist.

"The employee should also have had training on repairing truck hydraulic systems so he knew how to work on them safely," he said.

John Austin Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety in Employment Act and were ordered to pay $36,750 in fines as well as $65,554 in reparations in the Te Awamutu District Court.