Company fined after worker fatally injured by steel beam

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

Pegasus Engineering Limited was sentenced at the Christchurch District Court yesterday following the fatal incident in June 2017 in Rolleston.

In the incident a worker was moving steel beams from work trolleys using a crane. A beam destabilised, causing it to tip and fall toward the worker. The beam struck the worker across their left arm, the side of their torso, their neck and their head, causing fatal injuries.

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

Head of Specialist Interventions Simon Humphries said Pegasus Engineering Limited had not developed and implemented 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. 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.
  • Pegasus Engineering Limited was sentenced under sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and (2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
  • Reparations in excess of $165,000 were ordered.
  • Being a PCBU, it failed to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers who worked for the PCBU, while the workers were at work in the business or undertaking, namely the manufacture of steel products, and 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.
  • The maximum penalty is a fine not exceeding $1,500,000.

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