I love the additional point you make about further sanctions needing to be taken against management, e.g. restricting their ability to hold a position of power following conviction. That's a real
step that can be taken to affect positive change.
I mostly agree with fines being on a sliding scale according to the company's financial situation (although I am not certain turnover is the correct measure, perhaps profit/loss... I'm not sure).
A percentage based fining system would ensure that punishment is proportionate. Fines for the same/similar offence should inflict the same amount of 'pain' on the guilty PCBU, regardless of their size.
E.g. $300,000 for a big company is a drop in the ocean, but for a very small company, it would put them out of business.
I was furious today, reading through prosecutions, and articles about the Stumpmaster high court decision.
First and foremost, the reparations ordered are generally pathetic
, and massively inconsistent. How much is a life (or indeed quality of life) worth? Granted, it's a difficult and complex question, but I don't think any judge has got the answer right so far.
E.g. I just cannot see how these can be considered consistent, or more importantly, a fair representation of the value of a life, or the quality of life lost / harm done.
, fatality, elderly man: reparation $100,000.
, fatality, 18 year old man: reparation $105,000
, fatality, middle aged man (no age but noted he was a grandfather): reparation $223,020.10 (how they decided on that specific amount I have no idea!)
, man of unknown age, serious injuries (fractured femur, forehead contusion, and brain hemorrhage - 79 days of hospital care, 20 weeks off work full time when he returned to light duties): reparation $45,000
, man of unknown age, serious injuries (crushed hands, several finger amputations): reparation $67,000.
Scott Alexander McRae
, man of unknown age, fatality: reparation $130,000.
All Flex Packaging
, man of unknown age, serious injuries (hand crushing and degloving, fractures): reparation $20,000.
, man of unknown age, serious injuries (undefined, requiring hospitalisation): reparation $80,000.
North Island Mussels
, man of unknown age, serious injuries (scarring and removal of an eye): reparation $60,000.
Secondly, as the high court confirmed, significant discounts have been applied when perhaps they shouldn't have, or at least without adequate evidence of the mitigating factors being met to an acceptable degree. I'd have expected handing out a massive discount (often in the hundreds of thousands) would definitely have required robust evidence of significant mitigating factors!
really got my blood boiling.... this company got a fine of $250,000 and were ordered to pay $20,000 reparation after and incident where a worker sustained back injuries, after the freight cage he was working in fell three metres from forklift tines - he could easily have been killed from that height! But the real kicker was when I read this - "Two similar incidents had occurred at other PBT Transport sites and WorkSafe says PBT Transport should have used these incidents to significantly improve their processes."
Even the basics were not in place: "the freight cage did not comply with industry standards and had not been attached to the forklift correctly."
Sorry, enough ranting. I just cannot help but put myself in the shoes of those victims and their families and feel like some of those reparation amounts are a slap in the face... especially given the high levels of culpability in some cases.