WorkSafe Prosecution Corner

11 Dec 2017

What happened

A Wellington-based construction company has been fined almost $40,000 and ordered to pay reparations of more than $58,000 after a contractor was injured in a fall.

WorkSafe prosecuted the company over the injury which took place at a Wellington demolition site in March 2016. The worker fell 3.9 metres onto a concrete floor, resulting in significant head injuries.

The WorkSafe investigation found that although workers were using a fall restraint harness system on site, the supervision and training of the harness use was inadequate and the company had failed to ensure that the hazard of a fall from height was appropriately managed.


Following the sentencing, WorkSafe New Zealand issued a reminder to workplaces to ensure their workers were using their health and safety equipment correctly.

“Individual controls, like a harness, only look after individuals and rely on active judgement by the user for them to work safely. Training, inspection and equipment maintenance are critical for these measures to be effective.” said WorkSafe Manager Technical Programmes and Support, Simon Humphries.

“The preferred approach is to apply group controls that isolate multiple workers from the risk of falling. The best work methods are those that don’t require any active judgement by the workers to keep themselves safe, such as edge protection or scaffolding."

Following the incident, the company took a number of remedial steps following the incident and prior to prosecution such as reinforcing that workers are to clip their lanyards on to a safety line and formally training a large number of workers in working at heights.

  • Site Safe offers Height and Harness and Fall Arrest Systems training. For more information, see our training page.