Company escapes big fine and reparation over worker deaths

Auckland, Nov 16 NZPA - A south Auckland contracting company has escaped a hefty fine and a large reparation order over the death of two workers because it has no money.

Wiremu Asphalt Contractors admitted a charge relating to the deaths of two men under a house when it collapsed at a marae last year.

Marsh Terahi Wiri Peihopa, 24, and Waepeke Ruihana Tupaea, 61, died after they were trapped under the house at Manurewa Marae after it collapsed when it was hit by a truck in June. Two others were injured.

In the Manukau District Court today the company was ordered to pay reparations of $28,900.

Judge Jonathon Moses said if the company was in a better financial position, he would have awarded fines and reparation totalling around $200,000.

The Department of Labour charged the company.

The men were employees of Andrews Housemovers Limited, which had been contracted by the Manurewa Marae to relocate the house to its new site.

Wiremu Asphalt Contractors Limited had admitted the charge laid under the Health and Safety in Employment Act of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure other persons were not harmed by the actions of an employee.

The department also charged Wiremu Asphalt employee, Deon Williams, for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure his actions did not cause harm to any other persons.

He has denied the charge and is to defend it this month in the Manukau District Court.

- Content provided to you by NZPA



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