Icepak investigator honoured

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The Labour Department expert who investigated the Icepak fire at Tamahere has been honoured.

Keith Stewart accepting the award

Keith Stewart, one of the department’s leading health and safety experts, has been given a lifetime achievement award for his 35 years of dedication to workplace health and safety in New Zealand.

He was honoured for his contribution and commitment to health and safety at this year’s Workplace Health and Safety Awards gala dinner in Auckland on Thursday.

Stewart led two of the longest, most technically complicated and high profile investigations undertaken by the department – the IcePak coolstore fire at Tamahere, and the Pike River mine explosion on the West Coast. His roles have been varied and extend from accident prevention consultation, through health and safety inspecting to tutoring on the New Zealand Institute of Management’s diploma course on health and safety, the department said in a media release.

“Keith Stewart has been a man of unwavering commitment to his work and his dogged determination when it comes to investigations has been invaluable to the department. He has made a huge impact and there is no doubt that his work has contributed to saving lives and preventing injuries in many workplaces,” said Department of Labour Deputy Chief Executive Lesley Haines.

“New Zealand owes Keith a debt of gratitude for all he has done and this lifetime achievement award is just reward for his commitment and tenacity in a range of roles for the Department of Labour,” Haines said.

Stewart accepted his award with a brief comment. “I am humbled by being presented this award. Any achievement in this area is not without the support of others and I thank my Department of Labour colleagues for that.”

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