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Business fined $45k for H & S failings

Published 05 Feb 2017

Palmerston North District Court found Initial Hygiene failed in their obligations to staff members by not following their own "policies that were ahead of the industry standard". They were fined $45k.

Initial Hygiene had policies for staff to be tested to establish whether they were immune to Hepatitis B and, if not, to offer them the vaccination.

In 2015 the staff member became hospitalised with an acute Hepatitis B infection.

A company manager had explained to the employee that Hepatitis testing was 'not practised' and that toilets were not bio-hazards due to a sanitiser, and at no time during employment was the victim offered screening or vaccination - the best method to prevent the disease.

In sentencing the court records showed the Judge taking into account the previously good safety record held by the firm, but a lack of remorse and late guilty plea ended by with them being fined $29,250 and ordered to pay the victim reparation of $10,000 for emotional harm and $4,998.64 in lost wages.

This case demonstrates having the best procedures and documentation means nothing if they are not followed in real terms.