The District Court has convicted an employer for failing to take all reasonable practicable steps to prevent injury to an employee.

The employee was on her first day in the job when she suffered serious spinal injuries.

The employers breached their duties because they failed to assess the employee’s abilities to undertake the dangerous work she was engaged in before allowing her to commence that work.  They also failed to ensure she was wearing the appropriate protective equipment for the task.

The Court ordered a total of $314,000 in reparation to the employee and her parents, but did not impose a fine as there was no ability to pay any fine (after allowing for the reparation payments) and the business would have been put at risk of liquidation.

The fine starting point would have been $500,000 if the employers had had the ability to pay a fine.

It is imperative that employers not just have safety plans but ensure they are followed to avoid tragic accidents and injuries.