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Skifield let off with a warning

By WILL HINE in Queenstown - The Southland Times
Last updated 05:00 03/10/2009

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The Labour Department has decided not to prosecute NZSki following an accident in which a worker at the Remarkables skifield was seriously injured.

Instead, the skifield has been issued with a written warning.

A 20-year-old Australian worker was clearing snow from under a magic carpet conveyer lift on July 24, when she became tangled in the machine.

Suffering from a badly broken upper arm, the woman was taken to Lakes District Hospital before being transferred to Southland Hospital. She spent three days there, receiving pins to her arm, before returning to Australia for rehabilitation.

Labour Department spokesman Eric Janse van Rensburg said the company had been issued with a written warning following an investigation.

"The Department of Labour provided information to assist them in its management.

"The company is currently reviewing its snow removal system and its entire hazard management system.

"By undertaking these improvements a safer workplace will result."

A written warning was one of several penalties investigators could impose on errant companies, Mr Janse van Rensburg said.

The non-statutory notices served an evidential purpose as "prior warning" for issuing an infringement notice later.

Skifield manager Ross Lawrence said the skifield had reviewed its processes following the incident and made changes to protection near the lift.

"It did result in a written warning but the department were also very complimentary about the systems we had in place, they consider them to be robust systems."

The skifield was still in frequent contact with the injured worker, who had reported making good progress on her recovery.

"She's doing very well. She's in the final stages of rehab and surprised the physios and some of the surgeons with the extent of injury and then her recovery rate."

Mr Lawrence would not comment on whether the skifield had provided financial reparation to the worker.

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