WorkSafe Prosecution Corner


04 Apr 2019

A Canterbury firm was fined $285,000 after a fall from a mobile scaffold left a worker seriously injured.

The worker was contracted to do external painting as part of a renovation job. They were using a mobile scaffold that was provided for them and which was set up to work at 2 metres and 3 metres. However, the set-up didn’t have all the necessary components.

The worker went to move between the two platforms and fell 2m head-first onto the concrete floor. They sustained serious injuries including skull, facial and rib fractures, a perforated eardrum, subdural haemorrhaging and nerve damage as well as major brain trauma.

The worker was in hospital for nine days and then attended rehabilitation. They resumed work (part-time) 18 months after the accident.

The case, heard in the Christchurch District Court, also saw reparation paid of $35,000 for emotional harm.

Key takeaways from the case include:

It was reasonably practicable for the company to:

  • Assemble the mobile scaffolding as per the supplier’s instructions printed on the side of the scaffolding;
  • Check it had been assembled correctly before use;
  • Monitor the scaffolding while in use to make sure it stayed in a proper state for use;
  • Communicate and co-ordinate with contractors about what equipment was to be used on the site, who supplied it and whether it was safe and fit for purpose.