A New Dawn for Seafood Safety as Court Makes Landmark Ruling

There is likely to be a shake-up in how safety measures are applied in New Zealand’s seafood industry following a ruling made by a District Court in Tauranga in September 2018. Companies will be more keen on providing a safer environment for both their workers and customers, following the slapping of seafood company North Island Mussels with a $200,000 fine for an accidental chemical splash that left an employee without one eye.

The company was also instructed to fork out an additional $60,000 to cater for repatriation of the employee to whom the incident happened at the beginning of 2017.

For starters, this result will give a big boost to Worksafe, a union that advocates for safety at workplaces. Worksafe will now be more adamant that workers be assigned tasks that fall within their job descriptions, and that the right equipment for each task is a mandatory requirement.

The worker at North Island would not have suffered the accident had the company installed a hard-wired delivery for the chemical that destroyed his eye, WorkSafe argue. The company also appears to be cognizant of the mistake, as they indicate they have already set up new measures to avoid similar accidents in future.

The net effect of this ruling should be positive and far-reaching. With the right equipment, for example, workers are going to be more productive and happier at the workplace. The safety of people seeking sevice in the seafood restaurants will also be guaranteed.

As a cumulative benefit, the service at these outlets will be greatly improved. Ths will lead to more patrons trooping to the hotels and, as a result, growth of the industry. As Virgin Atlantic chief Richard Branson says, the success of a company (industry in this case) depends on the satisfaction of its employees. This is a big win for New Zealand’s seafood sector.

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