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A lack of communication between companies led to a worker being severely injured when he fell six metres to the ground after scaffolding failed

Cooperation key to safety on big projects

Big construction projects require cooperation between parties in order to keep people safe, and WorkSafe is reminding contracting firms that New Zealand’s health and safety laws actually require it.

WEB EXCLUSIVE

WorkSafe deputy general manager, investigations and specialist services, Simon Humphries, says building sites can involve hundreds of people coming and going over the course of a build, and that cooperating with other parties, and knowing what safety systems are in place, is key to keeping workers safe from harm.

Premier Project Management Ltd was sentenced in the Auckland District Court in April after an incident on an Auckland building site they were managing where a lack of communication between companies led to a worker being severely injured.

In September 2016, a worker employed by another contractor on the site fell six metres to the ground after scaffolding failed. He suffered injuries to his head, abdomen and arm which required six days’ hospitalisation and five months away from work.

Consultation across the site

“Workers and contractors were unclear on who was responsible for what, and as the project managers, Premier Project Management should have consulted and coordinated their activities with others onsite, particularly about how the risks of the scaffold should be managed,” says Mr Humphries.

WorkSafe’s investigation found unsafe scaffolding, inadequate and irregular scaffold inspections, a lack of systems and procedures, and a lack of communication and coordination on the site.

Two other parties have also been charged in relation to the incident and their cases are still before the court.

A fine of $14,000 was imposed on Premier Project Management by the court. The company had already made a voluntary payment of $5076 to the victim prior to sentencing, and no further reparation was ordered.


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