Major firm involved in enforceable undertaking

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New Zealand’s workplace health and safety regulator has accepted another enforceable undertaking, making it the tenth agreement of its kind under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

WorkSafe confirmed this week that it had accepted a proposal from Fletcher Construction Company following an incident in which an employee was seriously injured while on the job.

The 2016 accident occurred when a temporary retaining wall collapsed due to heavy rains, trapping the employee under falling blocks and plywood. The victim sustained multiple fractures to his right lower leg and required eight months off work as a result of his injuries.

Following an investigation, WorkSafe found that Fletcher had failed to ensure the health and safety of a worker but all parties involved were able to agree on an alternative to prosecution.

Simon Humphries, WorkSafe’s deputy general manager of investigations and specialist services, said the agreement would lead to improved safety measures across the sector.

“This is not an opportunity for Fletcher Construction to escape their corporate responsibility for the health and safety of a worker,” he said. “It’s a legally binding agreement that requires them to complete a number of commitments, which will benefit health and safety in the wider construction industry.”

Under the enforceable undertaking, Fletcher Construction committed to a range of initiatives including providing amends and professional development to the victim, developing a variety of safety programs and educational modules, offering work experience opportunities to local students and donating time and equipment to the wider community.

“We deeply regret this incident occurred and that a worker on one of our sites was harmed,” said Fletcher Construction’s chief executive, Michele Kernahan.

“Everyone deserves to go home safe at the end of the day and it is disappointing that we let this person down by not fully recognising the risks in the works on that site, in that environment,” she continued.

“It is important that we collectively learn from this as an organisation and as an industry.”

 

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