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Workers fined over scaffolding accident

Media Release

20 March 2014

Workers fined over scaffolding accident

Two workers have been ordered to pay a total of more than $22,000 in fines and reparations over a scaffolding accident in Dunedin last year which left a roofer with multiple fractures.

Daryl Robertson fell three metres in April 2013 after alterations to scaffolding at a Crawford St address left a trap door in a mobile scaffold deck unsecured. He suffered serious injuries including three leg fractures and dislocation.

Two other workers at the site have been convicted under section 19 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that no action or inaction while at work causes harm to another person.

Che O’Neill was the site manager, in charge of managing and monitoring the construction site and subcontractors working on the project.

He gave approval for two construction workers to raise the scaffolding deck by 500 millimetres, despite the fact that neither held a current Certificate of Competence to do the work. Mr O’Neill also failed to notify the scaffolding company APL Kwikform Pty Limited that alterations had taken place and needed to be checked.

Mr O’Neill was today fined $4,500 and ordered to pay $7,844.25 in reparations.

Andrew Currier is employed by the scaffolding APL Kwikform. He conducted a regular weekly check on the scaffolding the day before Mr Robertson’s fall and signed the scaffolding tag indicating it was safe to use.

As he was about to leave the site he noticed that the scaffold deck had been raised, but based on his observations from ground level he thought it looked safe. Mr Currier was fined $4,000 and ordered to pay reparations of $6,450.75.

WorkSafe NZ’s chief investigator, Keith Stewart, said working at height is inherently dangerous, and the proper installation, inspection and maintenance of scaffolding are vital to ensure the safety of workers.

“Daryl Robertson was let down by both the site manager and the scaffolding company employee who conducted the weekly safety check.

“This case serves as a reminder to all involved in the construction sector of just how much they rely on their fellow workers to do things properly. Health and safety is everyone’s responsibility,” said Keith Stewart.


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