A DRUNK digger operator employed by Linx Cargo Care Group’s New Zealand subsidiary C3 at the Port of Otago has been sentenced and fined for working under the influence of alcohol in the Invercargill District Court.

According to Maritime NZ, on the morning of 17 October 2021, the worker arrived late to work, missing the toolbox meeting and failed to report in to his foreman.

He went straight to the vessel IVS Kingbird, replacing another operator stowing away logs. The worker was not rostered to be working on the digger.

He was contacted by the foreman, who asked him to report to see him, he declined, saying he would report in five minutes.

While stowing, the digger tipped over as the worker was lifting and moving logs while the digger was in a precarious position.

The foreman froze operations. When exiting the digger, it was noticed the worker was unsteady on his feet. He was taken to the break room for observations

A breath alcohol test was undertaken, with the worker’s recording readings of 880 and 830 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath. The legal limit is 250 micrograms.

Maritime NZ investigations manager Pete Dwen said the worker breached his responsibilities as a worker by turning up under the influence of alcohol.

“His employer, C3 have steps in place to mitigate against the risk of incidents like these occurring. They include toolbox meetings and getting staff to check in with the foreman should they be late and miss the toolbox meeting,” Mr Dwen said.

“He bypassed all of these processes, knowing he would likely have been too impaired to undertake his job safely. Working under the influence of alcohol is exceptionally dangerous, and [the worker] continues to suffer ongoing concussion issues as a result of the incident.”

The level of intoxication of the worker was significantly above the limit imposed by the company’s policy, and the worker was over twice the legal limit of breath alcohol for operating a motor vehicle on the road.