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Damaged footpath led to elderly man’s death

9 November 2018


The death of a retired man who fell from a mobility scooter on a damaged piece of footpath has resulted in building development company YSB Group Limited being fined $100,000 by the Manukau District Court. The decision was released today.

The footpath had been damaged by heavy vehicles during the development of a Papatoetoe housing site. The victim was driving a mobility scooter in March 2017 when the scooter tipped on the uneven terrain and the driver fell to the ground and was fatally injured.

WorkSafe says the circumstances are a reminder that workplaces have a responsibility for others interacting with their worksite, as well as those completing work on it.

WorkSafe’s investigation found there was significant pedestrian activity on the footpath and that YSB Group did not identify the damaged footpath as a risk. The investigation also found that it would have been reasonably practicable for YSB Group to block off the damaged footpath, establish a safe alternative route for pedestrians and to have developed, implemented and communicated a site access plan.

WorkSafe’s Head of Specialist Interventions Simon Humphries said that pedestrians frequently have interactions with worksites – even if they aren’t directly on them.

“We expect all workplaces to think broadly about the impacts of their activities on the health and safety of everyone at a workplace. Other people potentially at risk from work activities include volunteers, customers, passers-by, visitors, or workers from another entity.”

“Some simple actions from YSB Group, and consideration of others interacting with their worksite could have saved this man’s life.”

One other party has been charged in relation to the matter. They are yet to appear in court.

Notes:

- A fine of $100,000 was imposed. This was reduced from a starting point of $550,000 for mitigating factors and financial circumstances.

- Reparation of $100,000 was ordered.

- YSB Group Limited was sentenced under sections 36(2), 48(1) and (2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

o Being a PCBU failed to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, the health and safety of other persons, was not put at risk from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking.

- The maximum penalty is a fine not exceeding $1,500,000.

ends


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