Co-operation key to safety on big projects

Big construction projects require co-operation between parties in order to keep people safe, and we're reminding contracting firms that New Zealand’s health and safety laws actually require it.

“Building sites can involve hundreds of people coming and going over the course of a build. Co-operating with other parties, and knowing what safety systems are in place is key to keeping workers safe from harm,” says WorkSafe Deputy General Manager, Investigations and Specialist Services, Simon Humphries.

Premier Project Management Limited was sentenced in the Auckland District Court yesterday 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.

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

Our investigation found unsafe scaffolding, inadequate and irregular scaffold inspections, a lack of systems and procedures and a lack of communication and co-ordination on the site.

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

Notes:

  • A fine of $14,000 was imposed.
  • Project Management Ltd had made a voluntary payment of $5,076 to the victim prior to sentencing, and no further reparation was ordered.
  • Premier Project Management Limited was charged under sections 34(1) and (2)(b) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
    • Being a PCBU who had a duty in relation to work being carried out, failed to, so far as was reasonably practicable, consult, co-operate and co-ordinate activities with all other PCBUs who had a duty in relation to the same matter.
  • The maximum penalty is a fine not exceeding $100,000.

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Email: media@worksafe.govt.nz