A Wanganui tannery has been fined $380,000 after a forklift driver was exposed to potentially deadly gas, just five years after the company was fined for similar health and safety breaches.
The driver at the Tasman Tanning Company lost consciousness twice after being exposed to potentially deadly hydrogen sulphide gas in April last year, suffering concussion and gashes to his face.
In 2012, at another plant, exposure to gas left four workers unconscious.
The company was fined $380,000 in the Wanganui District Court yesterday and ordered to pay the victim $18,000 in reparations.
WorkSafe chief inspector Keith Stewart said the investigation into the incident found multiple failings, including a lack of training and warnings, and failure to provide personal gas monitors.
He said the dangers of hydrogen sulphide gas were well-known in the tanning industry, and the worker was shifting containers when he was overcome by the gas.
"He fell to the ground, striking the back of his head on the floor. He regained consciousness, but he was disorientated, and he attempted to get back on to his forklift, and then he lost consciousness again and this time he fell forward, striking his face on the ground. And he was noticed by another worker, who raised the alarm."
Mr Stewart said businesses must learn from their mistakes and ensure changes were effective.
"These failures led to unnecessary and unacceptable injuries to a worker. When a business is held to account for breaches of the law, ensuring the breaches aren't repeated is a cornerstone of good health and safety practice. Failing to do so is a breach of workers' rights to a safe workplace."