Benchmark Homes Canterbury Limited

Court Summary - at a glance

Date of offence:
25 November 2014
 
Plea:
Guilty
 
Decision:
Convicted
 
Final decision date:
 
Fine imposed:
$36,000

Safety lessons learned:

As a principal:

  1. Effectively monitor a site and a contractor’s performance to ensure gaps are identified as hazards and protected with nets, covered with timber or fenced off; and
  2. Ensure task analysis provided on a site is specific for the installation of larger than average trusses, inclusive of extra bracing and that the methodology is communicated to and implemented by contractors.

Defendant name:
Benchmark Homes Canterbury Limited
 
Industry:
Building and construction
 
Date of offence:
25 November 2014
 
Facts in brief:
The Defendant company was the principal contractor at a residential construction site. The Defendant engaged Bowness Built Limited (“Bowness”) to carry out building work at the site including construction of the roof.

The Defendant engaged another company to provide safety nets as fall protection for the site; however, safety nets were not installed in small places.

On the day of the incident, the director and two employees of Bowness were erecting trusses to form the frame of the roof. The victim was 17 years old and had been employed for two weeks.

After nine trusses had been erected, before they were cross-braced, a gust of wind knocked the trusses off balance and they fell in a domino fashion. The trusses hit victim on the head causing him to become unconscious. The victim was pinned down between the ceiling plate and the trusses, with one leg hanging over a wardrobe space where there was no safety net. When the trusses were lifted off the victim, he fell through the wardrobe space onto a concrete slab three metres below.

The victim suffered three fractures to two vertebrae within the lumbar region, a concussion and 27 stiches to the lip.
 
Related prosecutions:
 
Offence section:
Sections 18(1)(a) and 50(1)(a) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
 
Date charged:

Court:
Christchurch - District Court
 
Plea:
Guilty
 
Final decision date:
 
Decision:
Convicted
 
Fine imposed:
$36,000
 
Maximum fine available:
$250,000
 
Reparation:
$10,000 (an additional $10,000 was paid by Bowness)