WorkSafe NZ Prosecution Corner - March

22 Mar 2017

What happened?

Delivering materials to a site requires the same attention to health and safety as being on-site all day. A recent case of a steel supplier delivering materials to site highlights the importance of managing risks even when you are only onsite for a few minutes.

An Auckland steel company was delivering materials to an inner-city construction site and parked on a slope and used its own crane to unload - this required the motor to be kept running. The truck rolled backward and struck a worker, pinning him between another truck and causing severe injuries.

The victim in this situation sustained a broken pelvis, crushed bicep, three broken front teeth, numerous head and facial lacerations, an internal abdomen laceration and nerve damage both to his leg and abdomen.

Several factors put forward at the case reveal just how dangerous the situation was. The onsite tower crane was not used – if the crane was used the truck could have turned off and placed in gear to prevent it rolling. In addition, the driver had a 7-year-old child in the cab who was exposed to this highly dangerous situation.

Both the main contractor of the site and the sub-contractor were fined $33,000 with reparation of $30,000 (totaling $126,000). They were found guilty under the Health and Safety in Employment Act for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure no harm to its employees.

What you can do to prevent such things from happening again:

  1. Use chocks under wheels to stop uncontrolled movement.
  2. Use tools & plant available – in this case the onsite tower crane.
  3. Keep children away from construction sites.
  4. Ensure you have a standard operating procedure (SOP) in place for routine tasks for workers to follow.
  5. Ensure workers are trained in the task at hand and supervised until deemed competent.
  6. Ensure planning and hazard management is undertaken before work commences. You can use Site Safe's free Site Specific Safety Plan to help you.