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Christchurch rebuild fall from height prosecution

Media release

20 December 2012

Christchurch rebuild fall from height prosecution: ‘make it the last one’ says Ministry

Construction company Fletchers Limited has been fined $45,000 following an investigation into the circumstances of a fall from height accident at the Grand Chancellor Hotel in Christchurch.

The Christchurch District Court heard today that The Fletcher Construction Company Limited employee was working to remove beams that were being cut away and then lifted out by a crane. He fell nearly three metres from a ladder resting against a beam.

Southern Division General Manager, Health and Safety, Francois Barton, said: “The Canterbury rebuild is going to be a massive undertaking and everybody must take responsibility for workplace safety. Unless there’s a full-on commitment to making the rebuild safe, we risk lost lives and injured workers

“A workforce of 46,000 worked over 80 million man-hours on the London Olympic Park project without a single work-related fatality. That is an outstanding performance and the Canterbury rebuild can match it,” Mr Barton said.

“The ongoing public information campaign about safe working at heights is a key part of this strategy and this case highlights how vital it is for everyone involved in the Canterbury re-build to lift their game.

“MBIE Health and Safety Inspectors regularly see evidence of good practice and I know that significant strides have been made which is extremely positive – however, basic issues such as the use of damaged ladders can lead to falls that even at a low level have catastrophic personal costs and may result in significant legal and financial penalties for the employer.

“Safe working at heights will remain a key focus for the Ministry for the foreseeable future and everyone involved in the rebuild - at all levels - needs to commit to rebuilding Canterbury safely so that this prosecution is ‘the last one’ for Canterbury.

“Region-wide collaboration and embedding a culture of safe working can make this happen,” Mr Barton said.

Information on the MBIE Preventing Falls from Height campaign can be found at


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