12 Aug 2021

Auckland port faces charges over stevedore's death

6:37 pm on 12 August 2021

Maritime New Zealand has laid charges against the Ports of Auckland over the death of a port worker almost a year ago.

Ports of Auckland

Photo: RNZ / Kymberlee Fernandes

Pala'amo Kalati was killed after being crushed when a container was dropped during a lifting operation.

Charges have been laid against the port company in the Auckland District Court today, under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

An individual has also been charged.

No court dates have yet been set.

A maritime union called for an independent review and an end to 12-hour graveyard shifts after Kalati's death.

The death was among three at the port that led to Auckland Council commissioning an independent report into the ports' health and safety record and processes.

Two of those who died were staff and one was a member of the public swimming in the harbour.

The review found systemic problems relating to health and safety risk management and organisational culture relating to health and safety, Mayor Phil Goff announced in March.

Goff said the review, conducted by Construction Health and Safety New Zealand (CHASNZ), found Ports of Auckland's health and safety approach didn't reflect the level of risk inherent in port operations and that it needed to be addressed.

He said the reviewers had made a number of recommendations, including new requirements for the Ports' chief executive to prioritise safety over productivity and profitability, improve trust and communication between management and staff, and for a new health and safety manager to report directly to the chief executive and the board.

Ports of Auckland chief executive Tony Gibson later resigned after repeated calls from campaigners, unionists and a councillor.

A spokesperson told RNZ Ports of Auckland did not wish to comment on the laying of charges today.

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