Safety improvements urged following excavator case

08 February 2022

Maritime New Zealand wants a recent judgement against a stevedoring company to help improve safety when working with heavy machinery on board.

The Tauranga-based company, C3 Limited has been fined and ordered to pay costs for safety failings which resulted in an excavator getting dropped overboard from a logging ship in 2018 at Wellington’s Centreport.

Maritime NZ’s Central Compliance Manager Blair Simmons says incidents like these are potentially disastrous.

“This was the second incident involving C3 over a 12 month period.
“In 2017 there was a similar incident in Northport, where it was incredibly lucky no one got injured,” he says.

The excavator, which was being moved between two cargo holds where it was being used to load logs, fell from its lifting arrangement attached to the ship’s crane, hit the side of the ship and fell into the water.

Maritime NZ investigators identified several key factors potentially contributing to the incident.

These include a failure to adequately train staff conducting the operation and the current certification of the lifting lugs affixed to the relevant excavator was not maintained.

“While no single factor can be identified as the cause of the incident, there were clearly several serious health and safety failings that needed to be urgently addressed,” Blair Simmons says.

Maritime New Zealand wants companies to prioritise safety to look after their people and avoid the negative consequences such as ending up in court.

C3 Limited was ordered to pay a pay a fine of $90,000 and costs of $20,000 for the safety failings.

It had previously pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching its duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and was sentenced on 4 February in the Wellington District Court.

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