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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Alert24 - Safeguard Update

Category claim steamrolled

Category claim steamrolled
Article Type:
Publication Date:
New Zealand

A civil construction company has been declined permission to appeal to the High Court against a decision that an employee's ACC claim should be regarded as a work injury rather than as a motor vehicle injury.

An employee of Downer New Zealand Ltd was driving a road roller in the Auckland suburb of Half Moon Bay. He was engaged in road compacting and was proceeding along the road's shoulder when his machine swivelled sideways and rolled, causing injuries to his legs and shoulders.

In an earlier District Court case, ACC argued the vehicle was engaged in the work of compacting the road, and was not being used as a means of conveyance. Downer's counsel argued the reverse, saying the very reason for the operation of a road roller was "to convey oneself and the weight of the rollers up and down the road in order to compact it."

In that earlier case Judge MJ Beattie had ruled the relevant part of the Accident Compensation Act 2001 was s35(2)(b), which says that what would otherwise be viewed as a motor vehicle injury would not be so regarded if the personal injury was suffered "in the course of any use of a motor vehicle other than as a means of conveyance".

In his 27 November 2012 judgment, he held that the man's injury must therefore be viewed as work-related.

In Downer's application for leave to appeal to the High Court, it argued that s35(2)(b) referred to the use of a vehicle that did not involve any element of personal conveyance. However Judge Roderick Joyce found that the intention of the legislation was to exclude as a motor vehicle injury a personal injury "event" suffered in the course of the use of a specialised vehicular work machine for its designed work purpose.

"Were it fairly arguable that Downer's approach to this case was the right one, then the object of the division of vehicle-related accidents into two mutually exclusive classes would surely be significantly subverted."

He declined the application to appeal to the High Court (Auckland DC, 19 June 2013).

People Mentioned:
Roderick Joyce
Organisations Mentioned:
Downer New Zealand
Reference No:

From Alert24 - Safeguard Update

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