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Special Investigators

Ep 9 Paper Reclaim (screened Sept 24 )

Penny Williams had no idea when her husband Stephen left for his nightshift as a forklift operator at Paper Reclaim Ltd that it would be the last time she would see him alive.  After thirty years of marriage, it took only moments for Stephen's life to end, when a stack of recycled paper collapsed, crushing him under bales of paper each weighing more than half a tonne.

It's cases like this that motivate Department of Labour Inspector Valma Harris. She is determined to ensure that no other family has to lose a husband,  father or any loved one, to a workplace accident.

Inside the warehouse, an examination of the scene sets her questioning the company's stacking procedure. The half-tonne blocks of paper are piled up seven bales high in a towering structure that surely can't meet industry guidelines?

And why did Stephen leave the safety of his fork lift? Valma finds herself asking why his body was found more than 2 metres from his still-running machine?

In answering these questions Valma uncovers some horrifying truths that lead her to recommend prosecution as the appropriate course of action.

Meanwhile over in Auckland's Mission Bay, emergency services are trying to reach a contractor buried under several tonnes of soft clay when the sides of a trench collapsed. Department of Labour Inspector Tracy Colby must ask why basic safety precautions seem to have been ignored.