WorkSafe Prosecution Corner

21 May 2018

WorkSafe has accepted an enforceable undertaking from a construction company after a worker's leg was crushed during the collapse of a temporary wall.

The enforceable undertaking has a value of at least $200,000.

What happened

The worker was in a two metre deep hole (used as a temporary sump) where water was pumping out following heavy rain fall. The temporary sump had been constructed using temporary concrete blocks (each weighing one tonne). The worker was attaching plywood to the blocks to stop aggregate being washed under the temporary concrete block wall when the concrete blocks started to shift. The worker jumped back, but was unable to get far enough away before he was caught under the blocks and plywood. He sustained multiple fractures to his leg and was off work for eight months as a result of his injuries.

Under the enforceable undertaking the company has committed to:

  • Providing amends in the form of payment to the victim, professional development opportunities in addition to ACC top-up.
  • Assisting in the development of programmes with Site Safe regarding temporary works.
  • Developing a new temporary works procedure for workers, including visual aids and training.
  • Arranging for an external consultant to audit the use of the temporary works procedure to verify ongoing effectiveness.
  • Presenting to Civil Contractors New Zealand conference focusing on safety in temporary works design.
  • Donating to the New Zealand Institute of Safety Management.
  • Establishing a health and safety forum with labour hire companies.
  • Publishing an article about health and safety and temporary works in an industry publication.
  • Developing a health and safety module for Mahurangi College.
  • Providing work experience for Mahurangi College students.
  • Running a community open day.
  • Donating safety equipment to a local school.


Temporary works are a challenging area which require collaboration, consistent understanding and shared learning between designers, contractors and suppliers to create a safe work environment. As there is currently no New Zealand standard for temporary works, the company will develop and implement its new temporary works procedure guided by the British Standard or Code of Practice (BS5975:2008).

To improve safety in your supply chain, check out our Contractor Management course.