Evidence presented so far at the commission of enquiry into the Pike River explosion prompted members of the Safeguard forum to discuss the Department of Labour’s performance in monitoring the mine and in regulating the mining sector. In turn, this led to an interesting question:
Could the Department of Labour (DoL) prosecute itself under the Health and Safety in Employment Act?
After some discussion it was determined that yes, in theory, the DoL could have prosecuted itself if it thought it had exposed its mine inspectors to harm by allowing them to work in the Pike River mine, or if it thought its own inspectors had, through the action or inaction, caused harm to others.
Not surprisingly, it was felt, the DoL chose not to pursue this line of thought.
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