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Unsafe work at height can have devastating consequences

WorkSafe is reminding businesses of the potentially devastating consequences unsafe work at height can cause, following the sentencing of Build Northland Limited at the Whangarei District Court last week.

The construction company was ordered to pay total reparations of $151,578.21 to a worker who was left permanently paralysed from the chest down after falling approximately two metres and landing on his head.

During the March 2018 incident, a worker was installing attic trusses in the garage of a residential property in Whangarei, when a bundle of upright standing trusses came loose and fell towards the worker. The trusses struck the aluminium plank the worker was standing on causing him to fall to the ground.

WorkSafe’s Chief Inspector Hayden Mander said the company had failed to ensure appropriate controls were in place for the safe installation of the attic trusses.

“WorkSafe’s investigation into the incident found that Build Northland Limited had identified the hazard of working at height and the risk it posed of serious injury or death, but did not provide enough details of the equipment required to safely carry out the installation.

“The hazards and risks associated with working at height are well known and controls to manage these risks are readily available”

“This is a reminder that even a fall from a height of less than two metres can have devastating consequences.”

Notes:

- Reparation of $151,578.21 was ordered

- Build Northland Limited was sentenced under sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and (2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015

- Being a PCBU having a duty to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers who work for the PCBU, while the workers are at work in the business or undertaking, did fail to comply with that duty and that failure exposed individuals to a risk of serious injury or death arising from a fall from height.

- The charge carries a maximum penalty of $1,500,000

ends

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