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Company to pay $15,000

Company to pay $15,000

A Hamilton company has been sentenced to pay $15,000 today after a contractor was seriously harmed in a workplace accident in December 2001.

Auto Body Equipment Limited was sentenced at the Hastings District Court today by Judge Clarkson after being prosecuted by the Occupational Safety and Health Service (OSH).

"Mis-wiring lead to the explosion of a spray booth which blew a burner unit directly into the contractor's face," said Murray Thomson, OSH Service Manager, Hawke's Bay.

"The contractor suffered serious head and face injuries, a thoracic vertebrae fracture, hearing loss and was in an induced coma for seven days after the accident.

"The force with which he was struck was so great that he had to have titanium plates implanted into his face and his teeth wired into his gums to prevent them falling out.

"The accident occurred as a result of mis-wiring, which most likely would have been detected if an appropriately qualified and experienced person had been on site for the commissioning of the unit.

"The company failed to take all practicable steps to ensure that the contractor was not harmed while doing work which he was contracted to do.

"There were a number of steps which the company could have taken, but most importantly it should have ensured that a suitably qualified and experienced gas professional was on site for the commissioning of the spray booth.

"It should also have ensured that there were clear guidelines established as to the roles of gas professionals, together with its personnel and contractors in regard to the installation of spray booths.

"Everyone has the right to be safe at work," said Mr Thomson.

"Companies must ensure that workplace hazards are identified and controlled correctly, and that their safety systems are constantly reviewed and updated."

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