WorkSafe NZ Prosecution Corner - December

06 Dec 2016

What happened?

The importance of training and hazard management while working at height were identified at a recent Timaru District Court decision.

A Timaru construction company was fined $34,000 and ordered to pay reparations of $16,000 after pleading guilty to one charge under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

Late in 2015, a worker was installing a flooring system on the second storey of a house in Timaru. The system was a composite flooring system made of lightweight, pre-formed steel sheets.

While drilling timber fascia boards to a steel beam, the steel sheets, which the worker was using as a work platform, moved resulting in a fall of 2.9m onto a concrete floor. The worker was knocked unconscious, sustained fractures and now suffers fatigue and headaches as a result of the fall.

The WorkSafe investigation found that the company had failed to complete adequate planning and hazard assessment in relation to the task. It should have included assessing whether the sheets were a safe work platform and making sure that the sheets were installed in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines.

The victim was unfamiliar with the installation process and had received no training. No one had checked that the worker installed the sheets correctly.

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

  1. Ensure planning and hazard management is undertaken before work commences. You can use Site Safe's free Site Specific Safety Plan (SSSP) to help you.
  2. Ensure workers are trained in the task at hand and supervised until deemed competent.
  3. Ensure products are used as per manufacturers guidelines.