Preventable fall from height leaves worker seriously injured
Brin Wilson Boats Limited of Whangaparaoa has been fined $30,000 and ordered to pay reparations of $15,000 after one of its workers fell more than three metres and received serious injuries.
The North Shore District Court heard that the accident happened in February this year when the worker was reattaching handrails to a boat while it was in dry dock for maintenance.
The employee reached for a handrail that had been removed for cleaning and left on top of the cabin the day before, and fell off the boat suffering injuries to his head and face and a broken left wrist.
Northern health and safety manager for the the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), John Howard, said: “The hazards of falls from height are well recognised and documented and there are many publications and guidance on how to avoid falls from height – both general guidance and specific to the boat-building industry."
“Preventing falls from height is a priority for MBIE. No matter what height people are working at, there is risk involved and MBIE expects everyone with staff or contractors to actively manage this significant hazard.”
MBIE has produced Best Practice Guidelines for Working at Height in New Zealandthat provides practical guidance about how to actively manage working at height to prevent harm.
“All employers, contractors and employees who are required to work at height should read the guidelines to ensure they take appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of those working at height. Doing nothing is not an option.” Mr Howard added.
Notes to Editors
- The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 is available online
- The Best Practice Guidelines for Working at Height in New Zealand have been published as part of the Labour Group’s three-year harm reduction campaign ‘Preventing Falls from Height’. The campaign is focused on raising awareness about working safely at height.
- The Preventing Falls from Height project is part of the Construction Sector Action Plan - one of five Sector Action Plans. These focus on the sectors with consistently high levels of workplace injury, disease and fatalities – construction, agriculture, manufacturing, forestry and fishing.
- The Scaffold and Rigging NZ Incorporated (SARNZ) "Best Practice Guidelines for Scaffolding in NZ" (2009) (‘the Guidelines’) are widely used and accepted in the scaffold industry in New Zealand as representing current best practice. The Guidelines incorporate relevant Australian and New Zealand Standards including Standard AS/NZS 4576 Guidelines for Scaffolding (‘AS/NZS 4576 – 1995’).