Worker left tetraplegic after ladder fall

By Safety Solutions Staff
Wednesday, 12 July, 2017

A fire alarm installation company has been fined $60,000 after its worker fell off a ladder and became a tetraplegic.

According to details from WorkSafe New Zealand, two employees were undertaking work for Ask Metro Fire when the incident occurred. They were shifting wires previously installed by their company. In the absence of the right tool for the job, the victim placed a 1.8 m ladder on top of a mobile scaffold and, in doing so, ended up above the limited protection of the basic scaffold guardrail. He fell less than 3 m to the concrete floor.

“A man’s life and livelihood has changed forever because the company responsible for his safety and wellbeing failed to take a series of steps to ensure he was safe at work,” said Chief Inspector Keith Stewart, WorkSafe New Zealand.

“There wasn’t enough attention paid to the working environment or whether the men had the right gear and sufficient training to do the work.

“While some instruction was given there was no reassessment of the work environment, which had changed since the prior work was done on the site.”

The company had identified working at height hazards but failed to provide its workers with appropriate tools for the job.

Ask Metro Fire appeared in the North Shore District Court on 16 June for sentencing, where the court reserved the judgement.

In a later reserved judgement, Ask Metro Fire was fined $60,000 and ordered to pay reparation of $194,715 after pleading guilty to one charge under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.

The company was charged was under Section 6 for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure an employee or its contractor was not harmed doing work they were engaged to do.

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