WorkSafe New Zealand is underscoring the dangers of skylights, after a 14-year-old roofer was seriously injured falling through one in Hawke’s Bay.
The teenager fell eight metres through a skylight and directly onto a concrete floor while working for Ironhide Roofing Limited, which has today been sentenced in the Napier District Court.
The December 2020 incident left the victim hospitalised, suffering from multiple fractures.
“Working from height is a well-known risk in the construction industry, and there is no excuse for not putting proper protections in place,” says WorkSafe’s national manager of investigations, Hayden Mander.
“This incident has had a significant effect on the victim’s health, and could easily have been prevented with some better planning.”
The worker had been told not to walk on the skylights as they were brittle, but a WorkSafe investigation found the advice didn’t go far enough nor meet industry guidelines.
The investigation also found a barrier should have been in place to restrict workers from inadvertently standing on a skylight in the older, weaker part of the roof.
Allowing someone aged under 15 to work on a construction site is a breach of the Health and Safety at Work (General Risk and Workplace Management) Regulations 2016.
- Ironhide Roofing Limited was sentenced at the Napier District Court on 6 September 2022
- An order to pay reparations of $40,000 was imposed, along with a fine of $25,000
- Ironhide Roofing Limited was sentenced under sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and 48(2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
- Being a PCBU having a duty to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers who worked for the PCBU while at work in the business or undertaking
- The maximum penalty is a fine not exceeding $1.5 million.
- Ironhide Roofing Limited was also sentenced under Regulations 43(1)(b) and 43(3)(b) of the Health and Safety at Work (General Risk and Workplace Management) Regulations 2016
- Being a PCBU having a duty to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, that no worker aged under 15 years carries out construction work, failed in that duty in that workers carried out work involved in a roof repair at aged 14 years.
- The maximum penalty is a fine not exceeding $50,000.