WorkSafe renews calls for safety on construction sites

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WorkSafe has renewed its calls to construction firms and contractors to observe their safety obligations, following the sentencing of company for a workplace incident that injured a worker.

Ebert Construction Limited was convicted in the Manukau District Court of violating a provision of the Health and Safety in Employment Act of 1992 – it failed to ensure that the plant it supplied was safe for its intended use.

The company was fined $45,500 and made to pay another $55,000 in reparation.

“Ebert Construction had an absolute duty, as does every business, to keep workers safe.  There is no excuse for failing to meet that obligation, and now there’s a worker left with life changing injuries,” said WorkSafe’s Acting Deputy General Manager Investigations and Specialist Services Simon Humphries said.

The incident took place in Pokeno in April 2015 during the construction of a new dairy manufacturing plant. The firm had covered a hole in the floor with a steel plate, but had not bolted it down as required by the plans.

A cleaner moved the plate to assist a colleague who was vacuuming the floor and fell through the hole; the worker sustained serious head trauma and multiple fractures.

“This is a simple situation – if the plans say bolt it down, there is no excuse for not doing so.  A worker doing their job has been badly injured because Ebert didn’t do the right thing,” Humphries said.

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