New Zealand Authorities Charge 13 People over White Island Eruption

New Zealand’s WorkSafe has now charged 13 parties involved over the White Island volcanic eruption in December 2019, which claimed 22 lives.

New Zealand’s WorkSafe has now charged 13 parties involved over the White Island volcanic eruption in December 2019, which claimed 22 lives. 

WorkSafe, the country’s workplace health and safety regulator, said they investigated if the parties involved met their obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. 

“This was an unexpected event, but that does not mean it was unforeseeable and there is a duty on operators to protect those in their care,” said WorkSafe Chief Executive Phil Parkes. 

Parkes also said, “We consider that these 13 parties did not meet those obligations. It is now up to the judicial system to determine whether they did or not. WorkSafe can’t comment on the matters in front of the court.”

Out of the 13 parties being charged, 10 organizations face charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, for failure to ensure the health and safety of workers and others. The charges carry a maximum fine of up to $1.5 million each.

Meanwhile, three individuals face charges under section 44 of the same act, “which requires directors, or individuals with significant influence over a company to exercise due diligence that the company is meeting its health and safety obligations under the Act.” The charge carries a maximum fine of up to $300,000 each. 

The authorities also said that under the law, they could not release the identities of the parties at this time. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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