The importance of training and hazard management while working at height has been highlighted at a Timaru District Court sentencing today.
Timaru company Rickie Shore Building Limited was fined $34,000 and ordered to pay reparations of $16,000 after pleading guilty to one charge under sections 6 and 50(1)(a) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.
On 22 October 2015, the victim was installing a flooring system on the second storey of a house in Timaru. The system is a composite steel flooring system made of lightweight, pre-formed steel sheets.
While drilling timber fascia boards to a steel beam, the steel sheets, which the victim was using as a work platform, moved and the victim fell 2.9m onto the concrete floor. He was knocked unconscious, sustained fractures, and suffers fatigue and headaches as a result of his head injury.
A WorkSafe investigation found that Rickie Shore Building had failed to complete adequate planning and hazard assessment in relation to the victim’s work, which would have included assessing whether the sheets made a safe work platform and making sure that the sheets were installed in line with the manufacturer’s instructions.
The victim was unfamiliar with the installation process and had received no training on how to do so. No one had checked that the victim installed the sheets correctly.
WorkSafe’s Construction Programme Manager Marcus Nalter says working from height is a well-known risk in the construction industry and it must be managed appropriately at all times.
“Rickie Shore Building should have ensured that the fitting of the flooring system was being done correctly and appropriate controls were in place to prevent a fall from height, such as providing a safe working platform.”
“People working in high risk industries such as construction should be able to trust that the employer has their workers’ safety at the front of their mind. In this instance, Rickie Shore Building’s inattention to safety has resulted in injury and ongoing health impacts for the victim,” says Mr Nalter.