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Worker crushed by 2.5 tonne concrete panel
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Worker crushed by 2.5 tonne concrete panel

31 January 2012

A Wellington transport company has been fined $30,000 following an accident in March last year where a self employed contractor was lucky to survive being crushed by a 2.5 tonne concrete panel.

Rough Terrain Transport Limited was also ordered to pay $20,000 in reparation to the contractor who broke his right shoulder and both legs and ankles in the accident on 4 March 2011.

The Porirua District Court heard that Rough Terrain Transport Limited was contracted by Wallace Building Contractors Limited (WBCL) to transport precast concrete panels from a building site in Porirua.

The Department of Labour (now the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) investigation found that an employee from Rough Terrain Transport Limited was asked to transport two concrete panels using a process he had never performed before. The employee was not adequately trained or supervised to carry out the task correctly.

“The Rough Terrain Transport employee was assisted by a contractor from WBCL as he unloaded the panels, which were secured by a single strop which had to be released so one panel could be chained to the crane and hoisted to the ground,” says the Department’s Southern General Manager Jean Martin.

“While one panel was connected to the crane, the other was left unsecured and fell onto the contractor before it could be secured,” says Ms Martin.

“The result was lacerations to his head and face, a broken right shoulder and broken bones in both legs and both ankles - very serious injuries that could have been prevented.

“Our investigation found that Rough Terrain Transport Limited failed to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of the self employed contractor.

“Rough Terrain Transport Limited simply did not obtain sufficient information from WBCL on the assigned job and they did not have an understanding of their employee’s knowledge and experience.

“The simple act of supervision could have helped prevent this accident,” says Ms Martin.

 

Notes to Editor

Rough Terrain Transport Limited was convicted on two charges under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 as outlined below:

  • One charge under Section 13 of the HSE Act which states:
    Every employer shall take all practicable steps to ensure that every employee who does work of any kind, or uses plant of any kind, or deals with a substance of any kind, in a place of work—

(a) either—

(i) has; or

(ii) is so supervised, by a person who has,—

such knowledge and experience of similar places, and work, plant, or substances of that kind, as to ensure that the employee's doing the work, using the plant, or dealing with the substance, is not likely to cause harm to the employee or other people; and

(b) is adequately trained in the safe use of all plant, objects, substances, and protective clothing and equipment that the employee is or may be required to use or handle.

  • One charge under Section 15 of the HSE Act which states:
    • Every employer shall take all practicable steps to ensure that no action or inaction of any employee while at work harms any other person.
  • The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 is available online.

 

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