Opinion: Mark Orr, GM: Zero Harm Farm

After the first prosecution under the Health & Safety at work Act legal firm Chapman Tripp published this thought provoking summary.

Read here – link

My takeaways from this summary are:

  1. The decision highlights a certainty; that higher penalties will be imposed
  2. If found guilty a PCBU  appears to be expected to be fined “the maximum Budget (it) can realistically pay” suggesting for many rural based businesses this could mean a sum so high it may effect the ability to keep operating
  3. A PCBU can now also be charged for the costs incurred by Worksafe during the investigation and trial
  4. That the fine levels below are a reality going forward….

“WorkSafe argued for a new range ten times higher and pushed for the “full quantum of fines available” under the band to be used:

Low culpability Up to $500,000
Medium culpability $500,000 to $1 million
High culpability $1 million to $1.5 million


As an Ag business owner or manager you are not immune to these hefty precedents being set in new judgments. It could spell the end of your business if you’re not taking ownership in this space as an owner or manager.

There are a multitude of specialist and experts in the Ag field of Heath and Safety ready to assist in this process.

There are no excuses.

Not having an engaging, systematized and documented health and safety system as an integral part of your business is fool hardy.

I’m sure there will be further clarifications as more prosecutions are made public in the weeks to come.

What are your takes on this summary?

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