Fireworks company to pay $100k over spectator injuries

6:48 pm on 15 October 2015

The Hamilton-based company responsible for a fireworks display that injured three spectators before an All Blacks game has been ordered to pay more than $100,000.

The fireworks display at Eden Park injured three people.

The fireworks display at Eden Park injured three people. Photo: AFP

Van Tiel Pyrotechnics was sentenced today on Health and Safety charges, as well as charges under the Hazardous Substances act and has been ordered to pay more than $100,000 in fines and reparations.

The Auckland District Court heard two on-field pyrotechnics - known as fireball devices - malfunctioned at an All Blacks versus Australia rugby test match at Eden Park in 2014.

The force of the explosion threw fragments into the crowd, hitting three people.

Worksafe's investigation revealed systemic failings, including its management of explosive substances.

The company was fined more than $80,000, and also ordered to pay thousands in reparations to two victims who had not already resolved their issues with the New Zealand Rugby Union.

Worksafe spokesman John Tulloch said there were a number of problems.

"There was a lack of proper labelling, in relation to the substances being used. There was a lack of adequate tracking of documentation concerning those substances, and it was also found that improvement was required in standard operating procedures. So there was a whole bunch of steps, and the process in the manufacture of these devices, which weren't up to scratch."

He said people at events like this had a right to expect to feel safe.

"Punters that rock up to a rugby match expect to be safe when these fireworks go off. But you also have to remember the workers who have a right to be safe, so it's much broader than just the spectators."

Mr Tulloch said the company had made changes to ensure future fireworks displays were safe.

WorkSafe's communication manager, John Tulloch.

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