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Company fined after climbing fall
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Company fined after climbing fall

21 October 2013

A Turangi indoor rock climbing company has been fined $35,000 and ordered to pay reparations of $15,000 to the victim after an accident that left a 15 year old with serious leg and foot injuries.

Vertical Assault Limited was sentenced in the Taupo District Court today on one charge brought by the Ministry’s Health and Safety Group under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

On 21 October last year, the victim, part of a group of family and friends at the climbing wall, was being assisted on a descent by a 14 year old friend and fell 15 metres, breaking his right tibia and fracturing his left heel bone. He underwent several surgeries subsequently and had metal pins inserted in both legs.

“Although this party had been briefed by staff on how to assist each other, some of the participants told our investigators the briefing was inconsistent and confusing,” Keith Stewart, Chief Investigations Inspector said.

“Vertical Assault did not have a policy to ensure there was a proper staff to climber ratio which made it difficult to adequately supervise belayers and climbers. They also did not ensure that spectators and people waiting to climb were managed so that staff could clearly see people in the climbing area.

“A young man was seriously injured. It is critical in activities like this that the company’s safety standards are high, policies are in place and are enforced,” Mr Stewart said.

 

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