Talleys Frozen Foods Fined Over Worker Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
28 February 2008
Talleys Frozen Foods Ltd has been fined a total of $110,000 after being found guilty of failing to keep its employees safe. This is one of the highest total fines ever imposed under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.
Talleys Frozen Foods was also ordered to pay reparations of $3000 to each of the 11 poisoning victims, a total of $33,000.
The company was today found guilty of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that 11 employees were not exposed to carbon monoxide fumes when an LPG forklift was used inside its factory on June 19, 2006.
The prosecution was brought by the Department of Labour under the Health and Safety in Employment Act, and was heard in the Blenheim District Court.
The company was found guilty on all 11 charges laid, and was fined $10,000 on each charge - a total of $110,000.
The fines and reparations reflect the seriousness of the circumstances involved in the case, said Department of Labour Deputy Secretary Andrew Annakin.
“This case is a reminder of the dangers of using LPG forklifts – which can produce potentially fatal carbon monoxide gases - in confined spaces. The Department welcomes the court’s decision and encourages all employers to check the safety of their LPG forklift practices.”
“Employers must ensure that all employees are aware of the hazards and risks associated with their work – in this case it took some time before anyone identified that the symptoms they were having were caused by the forklift and carbon monoxide.”
“All forklift drivers should be adequately trained – the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning should be included in training.”
Note: The health and safety services formerly referred to as Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) should now be referred to as the Department of Labour.