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Company convicted after worker is left paralysed

Company convicted after worker is left paralysed

A Wellington company was fined $26,500 today after being prosecuted by the Occupational Safety and Health Service (OSH).

Brian Ross Contractors Ltd was fined on a number of charges under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

One of the charges involved a workplace accident where a man fell 7.5 metres from a house roof earlier this year.

The man was one of four workers employed by Brian Ross Contractors Ltd to paint the roof of a Wellington house.

"New Zealanders being harmed and killed at work is unacceptable. As a result of this fall the worker is now paralysed from the chest down," said OSH spokeswoman, Madeleine Setchell.

"The victim, a father of four children, sustained a fractured skull, fractured collarbone, fractured cheekbones, a broken neck, a broken right arm, missing teeth and higher back spinal injuries.

"This tragic accident could have been avoided if the victim's employer had supplied and ensured the use of the proper equipment."

The company was fined $23,000 for the serious harm accident, $2,000 for exposing another worker to harm and also $1,500 for failing to notify a previous accident to OSH that occurred on the same site.

"Fall prevention and fall arrest equipment have been around for a long time. Every employer who has staff working at heights should supply this equipment and make sure it is used," said Miss Setchell.

In this case the employer could have taken the following practicable steps:

* Giving its employees proper training in the use of fall arrest equipment; and
* Ensuring that fall arrest equipment was used while working at heights in excess of 3 metres; or
* Installing edge protection to ensure that its employees were not exposed to the risk of a fall from heights.

"Everyone has the right to go to work and be safe. Companies must ensure that workplace hazards are identified and controlled correctly, and that their safety systems are constantly reviewed and updated," said Miss Setchell.

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