The Port of Auckland Limited (POAL) in New Zealand has been convicted of two charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 following a fatal accident on August 30, 2020, in which a worker was crushed by a falling container at the Fergusson Container Terminal. The charges were brought by Maritime NZ, and the port has been fined NZ$500,000. Maritime NZ found that POAL failed to ensure the safety of stevedores, with prolonged and systemic failures putting workers at risk.
The incident occurred while the victim and a colleague were unloading containers from a ship, and a crane accidentally lifted a third container, which fell to the ground and killed the worker. The incident, along with two other fatal incidents in April 2022, has prompted calls for urgent review and implementation of changes to health and safety practices at New Zealand ports. Maritime NZ’s director emphasized the need for a safety-first approach and a culture that prioritizes the safety of workers in the industry.
In addition to POAL, a second person was charged with failures to comply with health and safety duties, but the status of this case is unclear. Maritime NZ and the Port Health and Safety Leadership Group have been working on a program to improve safety in New Zealand’s ports, emphasizing the importance of a safety-first approach and the need for longshoremen to be safe at work.