Worksafe completes Freddy's fatal accident investigation

Farmer Freddy

It has been a sad week in Freddy’s household.  Despite Freddy’s improving health following his accident, he sadly succumbed to a deadly virus, dying from pneumonia as a result. 

Pebbles is distraught, but trying to maintain a brave face for her family.  There are going to be a number loose ends to manage and tie up over the next few months, including Freddy’s Will, managing the farm, the newly formed charitable trust that Freddy had established, and not least, the Worksafe investigation that put Freddy into hospital in the first place. 

Pebble’s phone rings for the umpteenth time.  It’s the insurance lawyer assisting with the Worksafe health and safety investigation. 

“I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your Dad,” said the insurance lawyer. 

“Thanks,” said Pebbles.  “It’s happened suddenly and quite hard for us all to comprehend at the moment.”

“I understand,” said the lawyer.  “But I do have some good news, although it won’t bring back your father.”

“What’s that?” asked Pebbles. 

“I have been speaking with the Worksafe inspector about the investigation in light of the death of Freddy.  As you know, when Worksafe considers whether any enforcement action should be taken following a health and safety investigation, and in particular whether to commence a prosecution, Worksafe is required to take into account the public interest,” explained the insurance lawyer. 

“Yes, I understand,” said Pebbles.  “But what does that mean for us right now?”

“Well, for a prosecution to be in the public interest, there are a number of considerations that need to be taken into account including the seriousness of the alleged offending, and the degree of harm that had been caused.  Worksafe have taken into account that Freddy was a key witness, and he is obviously no longer available to be interviewed.  Worksafe have also taken into account that Freddy’s company has rectified the issues that led to his accident and it is unlikely to happen again in similar circumstances as well as taking into account compassionate circumstances including the ongoing impact of a prosecution given Freddy’s passing,” said the insurance lawyer.    

“Worksafe have indicated that it will complete the investigation, but it is unlikely that it will resolve in a prosecution in these circumstances.”

“That does give me some relief,” said Pebbles.  “I guess it is one less thing for me to worry about.”

“Yes,” said the insurance lawyer.  “Hopefully that will give you a little bit of certainty and you can focus on your family in these difficult times.”

“Thanks for your help,” said Pebbles.  “It is certainly a hard time for our family at the moment.  It seems strange not having Freddy around anymore.  He used to always get in the last word.”

The content of this document is necessarily general and readers should seek specific advice on particular matters and not rely solely on this document. 

If you would like more information on any of the topics in this document, please contact your usual Auld Brewer Mazengarb & McEwen adviser. 

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Philip McCarthy