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Boy’s death a terrible accident

4 November 2004

Boy’s death a terrible accident

The death of 8-year old Jay Scott in an Auckland subdivision in June was a tragic accident, but no one can be held responsible for it, the Department of Labour’s occupational safety and health service has found.

Jay was playing with a friend in the garage of a partly completed house in Mili Way, Ranui, on the evening of 6 June, when he was crushed under a stack of plasterboard sheets that he had pulled away from the wall.

OSH Auckland manager John Forrest said an important factor in the accident was the way the plasterboard sheets had been angled against the garage wall. “However, it’s not uncommon for plasterboard to be stacked in this way, and it only became a hazard when Jay tried to move the sheets.”

“This was a terrible accident for everyone involved, but no one can be held accountable.”

Mr Forrest said the accident would remind both parents and builders of the dangers construction sites pose for children.

Builders need to be especially vigilant when working in a residential area, or near where children congregate, he said.

“We would encourage every builder to lock up building materials at the end of the day, and do their very best to keep construction sites secure. Materials should be locked inside the building, or in containers, when not in use and if this isn’t possible, then secure fencing may be an option.”

Mr Forrest said apart from preventing tragedies like the death of Jay Scott, better site security minimises the risk of theft and vandalism.

OSH has recommended Jay’s death be referred to the coroner’s court.


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