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WorkSafe statement on sentencing of Whakaari defendants – Steve Haszard

“Just over four years ago when Whakaari erupted many lives were changed. The Court has now delivered sentences to those who failed their responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.”

“Today belongs to the survivors, and the whānau and friends of those who were harmed or lost their lives. Twenty-two people were killed and 25 harmed and, as the Victim Impact Statements have outlined, the impact is far wider.”

“One impact has been to raise our national understanding about the obligations on businesses to do everything they can to keep people safe. Whakaari is a catastrophic example of what can go wrong when they don’t.”

“The work activity on the day of the eruption put people’s lives at risk. People put their faith in the businesses involved in these trips. But they were not properly informed about the risks, and they were not kept safe.”

“Whakaari was one of the worst natural disasters in Aotearoa, and the scale of WorkSafe New Zealand’s response is unprecedented. WorkSafe had a duty to investigate this tragedy, and we have a duty to hold businesses to account.”

“All businesses who had control over the island or took visitors to the island were convicted of health and safety failings, and they have now been sentenced.”

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