Hefty fine after farm death

WorkSafe says the sentencing of a Wellsford man after a worker was killed on his farm should serve as a warning to others.

Scott Alexander McRae appeared in the North Shore District Court after a worker on his farm was killed in a tractor incident in December 2016.

He was ordered to pay a fine of $70,000 and reparations of $130,000.

The worker was driving a tractor and towing a trailer carrying two bales of bailage when he lost traction on a sloped piece of land.  

The tractor and trailer jack-knifed and the tractor rolled, fatally injuring the driver.

WorkSafe's investigation found systemic failures by the farmer to do a risk assessment of the entire farm and the work tasks taking place on it.  

It also found that he had failed to identify the need for a maintained and effective roll over protection on the tractor after it was found to be severely corroded. The report said this was contrary to guidance on roll over protective structures on tractors.

WorkSafe's Head of Specialist Interventions Simon Humphries said having a health and safety system on the farm is vital.

"It's not about adding paperwork or having more work to do," he said. "It's about incorporating what you do every day and ensuring that everyone can head home healthy and safe at the end of it."

He said the Wellsford death was a tragic case.

"The failures on behalf of the duty holder showed a general lack of engagement in health and safety matters," said Mr Humphries.

In the last six years 30 New Zealanders have died while using tractors.