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Rotorua company A-Z Rigging and Scaffolding Limited was today fined $30,000 and ordered to pay reparations of $15,500 after a worker was seriously injured when he fell from a scaffolding plank that snapped.
The Rotorua District Court heard that the company was contracted to supply and install scaffolding and scaffolding planks at a local building site in July last year.
An employee of an engineering contractor who was working on the scaffolding fell 3.5 metres and sustained head injuries after the plank he was standing on snapped.
“Falls from any height can be deadly, so the victim is extremely lucky to still be alive,” says central region health and safety manager for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Ona De Rooy.
Investigations revealed that the plank was riddled with soft-rot fungi and the company had also failed to fully secure the plank to the scaffolding.
“This accident is a timely reminder for companies to follow the correct procedures when erecting scaffolding, outlined in the Scaffold and Rigging NZ Incorporated Best Practice Guidelines for Scaffolding in NZ (2009),” says Ms De Rooy.
“A-Z should have followed a few simple but necessary procedures to prevent this this accident from happening. This includes regularly testing the planks by an approved method, recording when and how the planks are tested, and fillet stacking them to allow them to properly dry before storing.
“Our Best Practice Guidelines for Working at Height in New Zealand are also important reading for employers, contractors and employees who are required to work at height,” Ms De Rooy says.