DEATHS

Second workplace fatality in Western Waikato prompts safety warning

Thursday 2 July 2009, 8:49PM
By New Zealand Police
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TE KUITI

Western Waikato Police are urging people involved in heavy injury to adopt a conservative approach after reports of a second fatal workplace accident in the Te Kuiti area in 24 hours.

Te Kuiti Sub-Area Manager, Senior Sergeant Rob Van Kalken, said Police and ambulance staff are currently making their way to a remote location in the Rangitoto ranges, east of Te Kuiti after reports of a forestry worker being killed.

With little or no radio or cell phone coverage in the area establishing exactly what has happened is currently the main priority.

"With the poor comms information has had to be relayed so the priority for our staff is to get to the scene, find out what has happened and carry out an identification of the victim.

"It is hoped once preliminary investigations have been completed the body can be taken back to Te Kuiti and the notification process can begin. No release of the deceased person's name can be done until that process has been completed."

Police were notified of the incident shortly after 5pm.

This latest death follows an incident in Te Kuiti yesterday in which a contractor working on a sewage line replacement died when the trench he was working in collapsed.

Pio Pio father of three, Mark Williams, 43, was digging a trench for a sewage line with colleagues on Williams St when the 2.4m deep by 6m long trench suddenly collapsed burying him chest-deep in dirt about 5pm.

Work colleagues were able to raise the alarm and dig Mr Williams free and began CPR but neither they nor responding medical staff were able to revive him.

Workplace accident inspectors from the Department of Labour were at the scene to day carrying out an investigation.

With two deaths in workplace accidents occurring so quickly in the same area Mr Van Kalken urged people to err on the side of safety.

"Obviously these incidents are unrelated however we don't want to be facing any similar tragedies and we're asking people to ensure safety is their number one priority."

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