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Department won’t prosecute after wind-farm accident  

Credit:  GRANT MILLER - Manawatu Standard, www.stuff.co.nz 27 November 2010 ~~

The chief executive of a Manawatu wind farm where two roading contractors were injured this year is relieved the Labour Department has decided not to prosecute.

New Zealand Windfarms boss Chris Sadler said the Labour Department made a thorough investigation into the May accident at the Te Rere Hau wind farm near Palmerston North and he was “very pleased” about the outcome.

The company changed its procedures after the accident. “We’re pushing the safety message as hard as we can,” Mr Sadler said. “We’ve got a big spotlight on traffic.”

On May 10, an articulated hauler slid down a hill where roading contractors were working. The two injured men were airlifted to Palmerston North Hospital – one was taken to the intensive care unit and the other had a broken arm and cuts. Mr Sadler said he understood the badly injured man was now on the road to recovery, but it would be a long, hard process for him.

Labour Department communications adviser Eric Janse van Rensburg said the Department gave NZ Windfarms information and advice to improve workplace safety practices.

The Department was working with the company, he said. “A Department of Labour investigation does not necessarily result in a prosecution.”

Mr Sadler said that, while the two men were contractors, NZ Windfarms provided the environment in which they were working. “It’s our site, so we ultimately have responsibility,” he said.

The Department’s report into the accident has not yet been made available, but the Manawatu Standard has requested a copy under the Official Information Act.

Source:  GRANT MILLER - Manawatu Standard, www.stuff.co.nz 27 November 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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