22 Nov 2021

Police reduce capabilitiy to investigate work-related fatal road crashes

2:43 pm on 22 November 2021

Documents reveal police have reduced their capability to investigate fatal road crashes for work-related health and safety breaches.

No caption

File image. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The number of police able to investigate fatal road crashes for work-related health and safety breaches has gone down.

At the same time, the number of crashes they investigate has gone up.

Documents released under the Official Information Act show 25 officers now have the special investigation warrants, down from 28 two years ago.

They have investigated 10 work-related road fatalities this year.

This compares with zero such investigations during the previous 18 months, covering the period since late 2018 from when officers first got warrants under health and safety laws strengthened back in 2016.

A coroner has noted their concern at "confusion and miscommunication" between police and the WorkSafe agency, which impeded the Turoa skifield bus crash investigation.

The 10 investigations this year represent about half of this type of fatality recorded by WorkSafe - 19 deaths in 2021, with 12 of those from truck or ute crashes, three with motorbikes, and a couple of tractor crashes.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs