Failure to notify regulators of incidents is an offence and can be an unexpected cost
Maritime NZ wants to reaffirm the importance of reporting serious incidents to the relevant regulator.
This comes after it took nearly a year for Maritime NZ to be notified about an incident involving welding on board a vessel. When it occurred, the worker involved received minor burns to their neck.
Two parties were recently sentenced in the Nelson District Court for failing to notify an incident on board the Janas in November 2018.
Sturrock and Greenwood Ltd were hired to remove ammonia gas from the refrigerator of a Talley’s vessel. While Anchor Engineering Limited was contracted to undertake the welding repairs.
On the day of the incident, a worker was welding in a confined area. Shortly after the welding work started, a noise was heard coming down a pipe that was being worked on. The worker was blown backwards, they suffered minor burns to their neck.
The worker notified their employer and told them what occurred.
Manager General Regulatory Operations South at Maritime NZ John Drury says from there the parties involved in the incident were legally required to notify the relevant regulator of the incident – in this case Maritime NZ. This did not happen.
“While it appears that there was confusion between the relevant organisations about reporting the incident, both Sturrock and Greenwood LTD and Anchor Engineering LTD had the duty to report. The policy should be, when in doubt, report. Or contact the regulator for clarification” he says.
Maritime NZ was not notified of the incident at all. Instead it was eventually notified to WorkSafe 11 months after it took place. The notification was then transferred to Maritime NZ.
“Like this case here, failing to notify can be very expensive for organisations, the two parties involved were fined a combined $28,000, which could have been avoided by reporting the incident. Failing to notify is an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
“Notifying an incident whether it be to Maritime NZ (maritimenz.govt.nz) or WorkSafe (Worksafe.govt.nz) is an easy process. Both organisations have a link to notify on the home pages of their websites.
“From a regulator’s perspective, notification is a hugely important tool. It allows incidents to be investigated quickly, evidence to remain in place, and potentially the prevention of serious injuries or death in the future,” John Drury says.
The two parties were sentenced under Section 56 of the Health and Safety at Work Act which states; A PCBU must, as soon as possible after becoming aware that a notifiable event arising out of the conduct of the business or undertaking has occurred, ensure that the regulator is notified of the event.
The two parties were fined the amounts below
- Anchor Engineering Limited - $9,600 fine and regulator costs of $13,000
- Sturrock and Greenwood Limited -$8,400 fine and regulator costs of $9,560