WorkSafe Prosecution Corner


02 May 2019

A structural steelwork company was fined $250,000 after a heavy steel beam fatally injured a worker.

The engineering firm was sentenced at the Christchurch District Court in relation to the incident which happened June 2017 in Rolleston.

The worker was moving steel beams from work trolleys using a crane. A beam fell onto the worker, hitting their left arm, torso, neck and head, causing fatal injuries.

A WorkSafe investigation found the company did not carry out an effective risk assessment and did not consider there was a major risk of the beams falling over. It did not provide workers with clamps to ensure heavy steel beams were secure while on work trolleys.

WorkSafe Head of Specialist Interventions Simon Humphries said the company had not developed a safe system of work.

“A worker has tragically lost their life because this company failed to carry out a risk assessment.

“A proper risk assessment involves identifying and assessing risks, eliminating or minimising risk, then monitoring the implemented control measures and reviewing systems for improvement,” he said.

“This serves as a reminder to all PCBUs to ensure proper safety procedures are always in place.”

Notes: 

  • A fine of $250,000 was imposed.
  • Reparations in excess of $165,000 were ordered.
  • Being a PCBU (person conducting a business or undertaking), the court found the company failed to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers.
  • That failure exposed the workers to a risk of death or serious injury arising from exposure to a crushing hazard created by the movement of unsecured heavy steel beams placed on work trolleys.

 

Key takeaway

Site Safe’s Risk Management course is designed to help implement and/or improve your company’s risk management framework and processes to help keep workers safe.

 With the Risk Management Course firms are able to:

  • Learn to manage health and safety risks as required by New Zealand Health and Safety Regulations
  • Evaluate and identify opportunities to improve a company’s risk management framework
  • Earn 8 credits towards your Health and Safety in Construction Programme