5 Jun 2015

$30,000 fine over orchard worker death

3:04 pm on 5 June 2015

A fine imposed on a Hastings orchardist over the death of an employee is not enough and the employer should face jail time, the Council of Trade Unions president says.

The 17-year-old was killed in 2013 when he crashed a home-built motorised buggy into a row of apple trees.

His employer Hamish Gregory Campbell was fined $30,000 and ordered to pay $50,000 in reparation for failing to minimise the risks, after the vehicle was deemed not fit for purpose.

President of the Council of Trade Unions Helen Kelly said the punishment was not enough.

"This was a kid, 17 years old, five days on the job and no training, dead, on what was obviously a very, very dangerous machine - and a $30,000 dollar fine?

"I would put this guy in jail - and that's the sort of law that we need where employers have to take responsiblity and when they're reckless around safety they're responsible for it."

Horticulture New Zealand spokesperson Leigh Catley said the fine was a signficant one and would send a strong message to the employers.

"A court's saying this is not good enough - you can't put people at risk. And we're not just talking orchards or even farmers here we're talking about all New Zealand workplaces."

Ms Catley said many in the horticulture industry are already looking at the way they operate.

There have been seven deaths in the agriculture industry so far this year.

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