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A Christchurch company has been sentenced after one of its workers was seriously injured when the telephone pole he was working on broke due to below ground rot.
At the Christchurch District court today Independent Line Services Limited was fined $30,000 for its role in the accident in Governors Bay on 7 April 2009.
The case highlights the dangers of working at heights and the importance of checking for defects in these types of poles says the Department of Labour.
The pole broke as the employee was climbing down. He jumped approximately five metres to avoid the falling pole and ladder, fracturing his pelvis and injuring his left ankle.
The employee was seriously injured and was extremely lucky to survive a fall from such a height says Department of Labour Christchurch Service Manager, Margaret Radford.
“Our investigation revealed that while procedures were in place, they weren’t followed, and the employee was not properly supervised. If Electricity Industry Standards were followed, the accident would probably not have happened,” Ms Radford says.
“The pole broke below the ground. Proper testing would have revealed the existence of rot in the pole. Following the earthquake and the continuing aftershocks, it’s even more important that companies properly test these poles above and below ground.
“Working at heights is a hazardous activity and the risks need to be carefully managed.”