24 Jun 2015

Dredging company pleads guilty over death

12:23 pm on 24 June 2015

A dredging company could be find up to $250,000 fine over the death of a worker on a barge in Auckland in 2013.

Dredging New Zealand has admitted the charge of breaching Health and Safety laws by failing to take steps to ensure of safety of employees.

Barge operator Peter Bateman died after he was caught between a turning excavator and a bin which collects excavated material, known as a hopper.

The Waitakere District Court heard Mr Bateman was talking on his phone when he jumped from his barge to another barge.

As the excavator turned he was pushed from one side of the wall to the other.

The barge was starting to pull away when the operator saw Mr Bateman lying face down. He died at the scene.

Investigations by Maritime New Zealand and the police showed Dredging NZ had no safety protocols on the barge, such as warning signs showing danger zones.

Nor were there any other safety devices for crushing hazards installed, such as proximity alarms and rear-view mirrors.

The court was told warning signs had been put on to the barges since the incident.

Judge John Bergseng will decide on the company's penalty next week.