Wellington Scoop

CentrePort fined $506,000 for death of worker who fell from container

News from WorkSafe NZ
CentrePort Limited was sentenced and fined $506,048 at the Wellington District Court today following the January 2017 death at the company’s container assessment and repair facility. A worker was using a ladder to access the roof and undertake repairs on a 2.9 metre high container. He fell and hit his head on the concrete below.

At a disputed facts hearing in February, the judge found the worker had died as a result of CentrePort Limited’s “failure to develop and implement a safe system of work for repairs of containers”.

WorkSafe’s Head of Specialist Interventions Simon Humphries said the incident was foreseeable and avoidable.

“There were numerous health and safety failings made by CentrePort that led to the worker’s death.

“The Port had developed safe working procedures but failed to ensure that these procedures were implemented where the victim was working. WorkSafe also found that ladders were not being tied off and those that were in use were in poor repair, and there was no auditing to ensure that they were safe and appropriate for use. Further, there was no edge or fall protection in place to protect workers.

“Safe operating procedures are there for a reason, particularly in the case of working at height which is a well-known and significant risk and they must be implemented and fully embedded in a workplace.

“In addition, particular care and diligence should be taken to ensure that equipment that is used to access work at height is safe and in good working order,” said Mr Humphries.

“The tragic death of this worker should serve as a reminder to every business whose workers undertake their duties off the ground that even a fall from a relatively low height can be fatal.

“This incident is a stark demonstration that complacency has no place in workplace health and safety.”

Press release from CentrePort
CentrePort extended its deepest sympathies and remorse to the family of former colleague Teihi Whaanga who died after a tragic work accident on 31 January 2017. The company was sentenced in the Wellington District Court today for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of Mr Whaanga who died in Wellington Hospital on 13 February 2017. Port workers continue to think of Teihi every day and his legacy lives on in the ongoing commitment to health and safety on the port.

Report from RNZ
Wellington District Court fined the company $506,048 and ordered it to also pay $150,952 in reparation to the man’s family on top of the $150,026 it had already paid them.


  1. Russel C., 19. June 2019, 23:21

    Does this mean that regional ratepayers will be paying $250,000, since we have a 50% (?) share in CentrePort? And, where does the money go? To the deceased’s family?

  2. Joise Talofi, 20. June 2019, 8:02

    I feel Worksafe failed here too as they did not inspect / act to ensure the safety of port workers until after a life was lost. Worksafe and the court should give the money to Mr Whaanga’s family.