Seventh-day Adventist Church Property Trustees (NZ) Limited

Court Summary - at a glance

Date of offence:
2 November 2014
 
Plea:
Not Guilty
 
Decision:
Convicted
 
Final decision date:
 
Fine imposed:
$46,000

Safety lessons learned:
  1. Ensure instructors that sign off trainees’ training schedules are experienced and adequately trained as outlined in the Activity Safety Guideline;
  2. Ensure that a qualified supervisor is supervising at all times;
  3. Ensured a documented health and safety management system included an effective system to identify that a participant had been shown, practiced and understood how to belay;
  4. Ensure that employees understood and complied with the health and safety management system; and
  5. Ensure employees, namely its course tutors and outdoor instructors were competent to identify, assess and manage the risks from hazards and to carry out, assist, provide instruction and supervision in respect of the outdoor adventure high ropes course activities.

Defendant name:
Seventh-day Adventist Church Property Trustees (NZ) Limited
 
Industry:
Arts and recreation
 
Date of offence:
2 November 2014
 
Facts in brief:
The Defendant owns a property known as Tui Ridge Park which contains indoor and outdoor recreation facilities including a high ropes course.

On the day of the incident, the victim was attending a team building activity. One activity of the high ropes course was a high beam, a large log suspended 10 metres above the ground.

The victim was the first of her group of three to climb up and traverse along the beam and back to the middle before descending. The Tui Ridge Park course supervisor was assisting a group of three while monitoring an adjacent activity at the high ropes course. When the victim had safely descended approximately 7 metres with the aid of belayers who were members of her group, one of the belayers lost control and appeared to have pulled incorrectly on a lever of the belay device causing the victim to descend rapidly and hit the ground with force.

The victim sustained serious spinal fractures, spinal cord injury, neurogenic bladder and bowel dysfunction.
 
Offence section:
Sections 16(2)(b)(i) and 50(1)(a) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
 
Date charged:

Court:
Rotorua - District Court
 
Plea:
Not Guilty
 
Final decision date:
 
Decision:
Convicted
 
Fine imposed:
$46,000
 
Maximum fine available:
$250,000
 
Reparation:
$40,000