Plunket Electrical Oamaru Limited

We have accepted Enforceable Undertakings from Plunket Electrical Oamaru Limited and McConnell Dowell Constructors Limited, following an incident at Peaks Pump Station in North Otago in 2016.

On 14 September 2016, three workers were installing a switchboard at the Peaks Pump Station. The switchboard weighed 1400kg and was 4700mm long, 2000mm high and 500mm deep. Due to the layout of the installation, it was decided that the workers would utilise a trolley jack to lift the switchboard, however, in the course of doing this the switchboard tipped forward, striking the victim in the abdomen as it fell. It came to rest on a small steel stand in the corner of the room which prevented it from falling all the way to the ground. This prevented the victim from being crushed by the full weight of the switchboard. As a result, the victim suffered a crush injury to the abdomen area, including laceration of the spleen.

Alleged breach

Sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and (2)(c), of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

Summary of Enforceable Undertaking

Plunket Electrical Oamaru Limited will:

  • Make a monetary payment of $5,000 to the victim and $2,000 to the other two staff involved in the incident. This is in addition to a voluntary payment of $5,000 made earlier and $898.59 to top up the victim’s ACC payments.
  • Provide the following courses to employees:
    • NZQA 30433 – Role and function of a health and safety committee (for all members of the current committee, i.e. 12 employees).
    • NZQA 17602 – Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (for all employees not already trained, i.e. 35 employees).
    • NZQA 6401 and 6402 – First aid courses level 1 (for five employees).
    • NZQA 30266 – Health and safety culture and practices (for five employees).
    • NZQA 21970 – Construction health and safety and injury prevention training (for eight employees).
  • Engage a speaker approved by WorkSafe to attend a whole of staff meeting to discuss a health and safety topic.
  • Develop a video designed for Master Electricians to target businesses throughout the wider industry at a cost of $30,000. The video will focus on hazard identification and will be available through Master Electricians.
  • Develop a video or course specifically targeting hazard identification and general health and safety for use as part of ETCO training for apprentices.
  • Publish an article for Safeguard and other industry publications.
  • Donate $5,000 to St Johns Ambulance and $5,000 to Rescue Helicopter.
  • Cover the costs for SiteSafe or a similar approved organisation’s expenses to attend and run a stall at the Oamaru A&P show in 2019 and arrange a speaker on a health and safety topic.
  • Provide $15,000 to put towards funding for a health and safety radio/digital campaign.

This Enforceable Undertaking has a total estimated expenditure of at least $112,438.59 (including WorkSafe’s recoverable costs).

Reasons for accepting the Undertaking

  • The alleged contravention is not a section 47 (reckless conduct) offence which would preclude it from being accepted.
  • The Enforceable Undertaking meets the requirements of our Enforceable Undertakings Operational Policy document dated July 2017; in particular noting:
    • The nature of the contravention and how serious it was
      • On 12 September 2017, WorkSafe charged Plunket Electrical Oamaru Limited for failing to ensure that risks were adequately identified, that adequate systems were in place to manage risks and that appropriate consultation, co-operation and co-ordination with other PCBUs was undertaken.
      • The incident was considered serious as it had the potential for a fatal injury but for the small steel stand in the corner of the room which prevented the switchboard completely falling on the victim. The victim still suffered a crush injury to the abdomen area, including laceration of the spleen, and took six months to recover from the incident.
      • The victim was able to make a full recovery from the injury and eventually returned to work.
    • Information received from any interested party, including any victim(s), in relation to the contravention
      • The victim had viewed the draft enforceable undertaking and supported the enforceable undertaking.
      • The Electrical Union confirmed that they did not oppose the enforceable undertaking.
      • Master Electricians and the ETCO were supportive of the enforceable undertaking and were participating in part of the activities.
    • Mitigation and remedial action (taken or planned), regarding both the contravention and any person affected by the contravention (including victims)
      • Plunket Electrical Oamaru Limited has:
        • included a statement of regret in the Enforceable Undertaking that acknowledges the harm caused to the victim.
        • offered support to the victim including making counselling services available and topping up the victim’s income during the period they received ACC payments to the amount of $898.59.
        • made a monetary payment of $5,000 to the victim to recognise the hurt and stress prior to Christmas 2017.
        • developed a written process for removing and installing switchboards at the Peaks Pump Station immediately after the incident.
        • completed further training in October 2016 on the use of hazard identification and task analysis forms.
        • introduced a policy and procedure for lifting heavy equipment in November 2016. It also published a health and safety alert bulletin through ECANZ relating to the incident.
        • the total cost of rectifications (excluded from the overall cost of the Enforceable Undertaking) was approximately $20,240.00.
    • The person’s past performance and history of compliance with health and safety legislation
      • Plunket Electrical Oamaru Limited does not have any previous health and safety convictions.
    • Any other matter which WorkSafe thinks is relevant
      • The enforceable undertaking delivered benefits beyond compliance and would promote higher standards of workplace health and safety.
      • The activities in the Enforceable Undertaking will provide long-term sustainable health and safety improvements in the workplace, industry and community.
      • Plunket Electrical Oamaru Limited has the financial capacity and resources to comply with the terms of the Enforceable Undertaking.
      • The support from other parties positively reinforced that the Enforceable Undertaking would provide significant value and a range of benefits to workers and the workplace, industry and the community.
      • The Enforceable Undertaking accounts for the benefits that accrue to Plunket Electrical Oamaru Limited by the prosecution not proceeding.

Date accepted

27 April 2018

Further information

View the full Enforceable Undertaking:

Enforceable Undertaking Plunket Electrical Oamaru (PDF 6.5 MB)