Pulpmill fined after fall left worker in wheelchair
A North Island pulpmill has been fined nearly $50,000 after a serious fall from height at its Tangiwai site left a worker seriously injured and in a wheelchair.
Winstone Pulp International was fined $48,000 in the Taihape District Court yesterday and ordered to pay $40,000 in reparations.
The court heard that on 18 October 2011 two fitters were installing an electrical motor on a mechanical platform at a height of 2.55 metres, with no edge protection in place.
Both men were on the platform when the rigging system failed, knocking the motor off. The motor hit one of the fitters, causing him to fall to the ground.
“This worker suffered multiple serious injuries, was in hospital for nearly four months and is now wheelchair bound,” says the Ministry’s General Manager Health and Safety Central region, Murray Thompson.
“This was a tragic accident that could have been completely avoided, had Winstone Pulp put measures in place to ensure safe working at height,” Mr Thompson says.
“This company completely failed in its duty to protect the two fitters working on site on the day. They did not follow standard rigging procedures. Nor did they ensure edge and fall protection was in place.”
The Ministry has a Preventing Falls from Height campaign underway to reduce the number of workers being injured and killed. It aims to reduce harm by raising awareness about the safe use of ladders and safe working on roofs.
“This does not just apply in the construction sector. Everyone working at height must comply with the guidelines.
“This is the fourth successful prosecution the Ministry has taken against Winstone Pulp International in the last twelve months – for four separate incidents and breaches of the Health and Safety in Employment Act.”
Notes to Editors
- Winstone Pulp International pleaded guilty to one breach of Section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
- More information on the Preventing Falls from Height campaign is online.
- The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 is available online.