A five-year-old boy who was run over by a reversing forklift at a Hawke's Bay orchard had been taken there by his grandparents after childcare arrangements fell through.
The child spent a month in hospital with complex fractures to both hips after the accident in January 2022.
A WorkSafe investigation found he was under limited supervision because his grandparents were busy working.
He had been told to stay inside the packhouse on a couch, but he wandered from that spot and into the path of a reversing forklift, which was being driven by a 14-year-old worker.
The orchard company, Kylie and Simon Halford Partnership, was sentenced at Hastings District Court on Thursday for various health and safety failures.
WorkSafe area investigation manager Paul Budd said the case was a timely reminder heading into the holiday season that children were always at risk on worksites and should not be there.
The forklift had no basic safety features - such as reversing lights, mirrors, flashing lights, or a horn - the driver was underage, and the site had no safety plan for its use.
Investigators found the teenager was often behind the wheel, and the owner had not done enough to establish his age. Workers under 15 are not allowed to drive vehicles on worksites.
Risk management by the business was verbal and informal because of language barriers.
"It's not good enough to say that your risk management is verbal because employees cannot always read English. Translating your safety information for workers, if necessary, goes a long way to keeping them safe," Budd said.
"Better traffic management would also have made a big difference to safety. This could have included exclusion zones to separate vehicles from people, the use of barriers when operating the forklift, clear signage, and separate entry and exit points for people and vehicles."
Children are now prohibited from the orchard during operating hours.
The five-year-old boy has made a full recovery.
The orchard owners were fined $7000 and ordered to pay reparations of $25,000.