Scaffolding collapse nearly a tragedy

08 May 2019

A scaffolding company has been fined $150,000 after a poorly designed scaffold collapsed while seven people were working on it.

The firm was sentenced at the Auckland District Court following the February 2017 incident.

The scaffold under Auckland’s Panmure Bridge collapsed while seven workers were completing maintenance work. Six workers fell into the water and another was trapped on the scaffolding. No-one was seriously injured.

A WorkSafe investigation found the collapse occurred due to overloading. It found the scaffolding firm failed to make sure the scaffolding was designed safely and load calculations and design drawings were not reviewed by an engineer before the scaffold was built.

Simon Humphrie WorkSafe

WorkSafe’s Head of Specialist Interventions, Simon Humphries, right, says the incident could have had catastrophic consequences and it was very fortunate that all seven workers escaped without serious injuries.

“This incident highlights the requirement for every scaffolding company to ensure structural design, engineering review and adherence to standards and guidance material.

“The workers on this, and every scaffold project, have a right to expect that their employers are doing everything required to keep them safe while they’re at work.”

A fine of $150,000 was imposed with reparations of $12,000. The maximum penalty is a fine not exceeding $1,500,000.