Maritime Union welcomes sentencing in Wellington port death case

Mark Samoa

Mark Samoa

The Maritime Union has welcomed the sentencing of a port company following the death of a union member in a workplace accident in 2013.

Mark Samoa died in a workplace accident at Centreport, Wellington, on 20 January 2013.

Mr Samoa was an experienced watersider and longstanding member of the Maritime Union.

Wellington District Court judge Bill Hastings found on 4 June 2015 that CentrePort failed to physically separate the tasks of placing stacks and the task of labelling stacks and failing to have a clear and detailed procedure for all workers required to use forklifts and those pasting and labelling of packs.

Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Joe Fleetwood says that the waterfront industry in New Zealand is a dangerous industry.

“The amount of reparation cannot replace the value of a human life.”

Three members of the Union had lost their lives in port accidents in recent years, there had been a larger number of serious injuries, and deaths and injuries of contractors or other port employees.

Mr Fleetwood says the main concern of the Union was fatigue from irregular shifts, the constant pressure for speed ups of work by employers, and attempts to reduce manning levels.

He says that it is imperative that proposed health and safety legislation is not undermined an attitude of “profit before safety.”

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