We have accepted an enforceable undertaking from Topcoat Specialist Coatings Limited after an incident on 21 February 2017.

A scaffold erected underneath the Panmure Bridge in Auckland collapsed while workers were completing maintenance work on the steel structure under the bridge. Six workers fell into the water below.

None of the workers were seriously injured.

Alleged Breach

Sections 36(1) (a) and (b), 48(1) and 2(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015

Summary of Enforceable Undertaking

Topcoat Specialist Coatings Limited (“Topcoat”) will:

  • Provide amends to four Topcoat workers;
  • Undertake an initial audit assessment, then full audit and Year 1, 2 and 3 review assessments of ISO 45001 by independent auditing organisation Telarc;
  • Provide Health and Safety Literacy and Numeracy Worker Training of 6 workers;
  • Fund Construction Health and Safety NZ (CHASNZ) ($50,000) to standardise H&S pre-qualification schemes for the construction industry then ($25,000) to Telarc for adoption and alignment of the Good Practice Framework within Telarc’s Q-Safe and M-Safe audit schemes.
  • Fund the New Zealand Howard League for Penal Reform to provide a South Auckland Unlicensed Drivers Programme through the Southern Initiative (Auckland Council based programme) for the first year.

This enforceable undertaking has a total expenditure of at least $186,207.00

Reasons for Accepting the Undertaking

The alleged contravention does not amount to an offence against section 47 (reckless conduct) which would preclude it from being accepted.

The enforceable undertaking meets the requirements of WorkSafe’s Enforceable Undertakings Operational Policy (July 2017); noting:

  • The nature of the proposals in the application and the benefits that would be realised to the health and safety system from them.
    • The activities in the enforceable undertaking will provide long-term sustainable health and safety improvements in the workplace, industry, and community.
  • The nature of the alleged contravention and how serious it was.
    • The incident was potentially very serious.
  • Information received from any interested party in relation to the contravention.
  • Mitigation and remedial action, already taken, or planned, regarding both the contravention and any person affected by the contravention (including victims).
  • The person’s past performance and history of compliance with health and safety legislation is satisfactory.
  • Any likely outcome if the matter were dealt with by legal proceedings.
    • A charge was filed in relation to this incident on the basis that there was both evidential sufficiency, and a public interest in initiating prosecution. A successful prosecution outcome may have resulted.
  • Any other matter which WorkSafe thinks is relevant.
    • The undertaking delivers benefits beyond compliance.
    • The undertaking offers sufficient benefit to the workplace, industry and community to offset the seriousness of the offending.
    • The undertaking contains acceptable terms.
    • The undertaking accounts for the benefits that accrue to Topcoat from a prosecution not proceeding.

Date accepted

8 October 2018

Further information

View the full Enforceable Undertaking:

Enforceable Undertaking - Topcoat Specialist Coatings Limited (PDF 2.2 MB)