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Health & Safety News
10th May 2024

The recent media release from Worksafe around the sad death of a 23-year-old apprentice diesel mechanic in North Canterbury back in 2022 detailing how the trainee fitter was tasked to carry out repairs to a loader that involved working to the underside of an elevated boom which subsequently collapsed.
 
The investigation uncovered that the company didn’t have an effective procedure for the repairs. In addition to this, the apprentice had asked for advice on how to carry out the task and was given inadequate instruction and supervision. The article mentions that the worker was nearing the end of his apprenticeship but highlights the reduced experience he had in the role which would be another factor leading to this tragedy.
 
The business involved was charged under section 36(1)(a) and 48(1) and (2) (c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act- Being a PCBU having a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers who work for the PCBU, while the workers were at work in the business or undertaking, namely repairing a wheel loader, did fail to comply with that duty, and that failure exposed a person to risk of death or serious injury from being struck or crushed by the wheel loader’s boom.
 
The maximum penalty is a fine not exceeding $1.5 million. The Company was fined $302,500 and reparations of $278,000 was additionally ordered.
 
The above is a sad reminder of the importance to have appropriate processes and procedures in place to protect the health and safety of your workers and others. Additional considerations to be made.
 
• General safe systems of works that are regularly audited and reviewed.
• Sufficient, regular training for workers to the Safe Operating Procedures.
• Individual workers level of experience.
• Individual workers training and competencies.
• Appropriate levels of supervision to carry out their roles safely.

Media release from Worksafe regarding the scaffolder that lost both his arms from an electric shock while working near power lines. There was a Close Approach Consent and permit in place for the works that the scaffolders installing the structure had been inducted on however, the team dismantling the structure was a different crew who were unaware of this and had not received the induction, information and training on this.
 
While this incident/example is trade specific, this highlights the importance of making sure that any and all relevant information required to carry out the task safely must be relayed to all of your workers BEFORE the start of any task. This could be done through,

  • Site Inductions.
  • Daily Prestarts.
  • Daily Take 5 meetings.
  • Regular reviews of job documentation such as Hazard/risk registers, Site-Specific Safety Plans and Task Analysis and having teams resign them.
  • Regular site audits and communicating back to your teams.
  • Safety alerts communicated to all workers.
  • Hazard boards.
  • General signage.

If you would like some assistance in reviewing these processes or simply fine tuning your current procedures, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Sentencing Sends Message:

WorkSafe New Zealand has prosecuted a business for failing to play its part before a worker suffered significant injuries on the job in a fall from height.

The 54-year-old worker was replacing a roof at Auckland’s Glenfield Intermediate School in mid-January 2020. He fell 3.6 metres onto the concrete ground below, after trying to steady himself by holding a guardrail that detached due to improper installation by TPL Access Limited.

Worker’s hand injury prompts renewed safety focus:

WorkSafe New Zealand is again urging vigilance on the risks of exposed machinery, in light of a steel fabrication worker suffering a significant injury on the job in Northland.

The employer, Donovan Group NZ Limited, has been sentenced in the Whang─ürei District Court for its health and safety failings in June last year.

Amputation follows forklift trauma at Trade Depot:

Businesses that contend with on-site traffic must learn from a collision that cost a woman her lower leg, WorkSafe New Zealand says.

Apprentice builder killed by falling framing:

The death of a teenager on a Bay of Plenty building site is yet another example of why the construction sector needs to up its game, WorkSafe New Zealand says.

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