WorkSafe Prosecution Corner

26 Nov 2019

The hazards of falling from even quite low heights has been reinforced following a Northland court case in November.

A construction company, appearing in the Whangarei District Court, was ordered to pay total reparations of $151,578 to a worker who was left paralysed from the chest down after falling about two metres and landing on his head.

During the March 2018 incident, a worker was installing attic trusses in the garage of a residential property in Whangarei. A bundle of upright standing trusses came loose and fell towards the worker, hitting the aluminium plank he was standing on and causing him to fall.

WorkSafe’s Chief Inspector Hayden Mander says the company had failed to ensure appropriate controls were in place for the safe installation of the trusses.

"WorkSafe’s investigation into the incident found that [the company] had identified the hazard of working at height and the risk it posed of serious injury or death but did not provide enough details of the equipment required to safely carry out the installation.

"The hazards and risks associated with working at height are well known and controls to manage these risks are readily available.

"This is a reminder that even a fall from a height of less than two metres can have devastating consequences."