Preventable fall from height leaves worker seriously injured

Thursday 11 October 2012, 3:29PM

By Department of Labour


Brin Wilson Boats Limited of Whangaparaoa has been fined $30,000 and ordered to pay reparations of $15,000 after one of its workers fell more than three metres and received serious injuries.

The North Shore District Court heard that the accident happened in February this year when the worker was reattaching handrails to a boat while it was in dry dock for maintenance.

The employee reached for a handrail that had been removed for cleaning and left on top of the cabin the day before, and fell off the boat suffering injuries to his head and face and a broken left wrist.

Northern health and safety manager for the the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), John Howard, said: “The hazards of falls from height are well recognised and documented and there are many publications and guidance on how to avoid falls from height – both general guidance and specific to the boat-building industry."

“Preventing falls from height is a priority for MBIE. No matter what height people are working at, there is risk involved and MBIE expects everyone with staff or contractors to actively manage this significant hazard.”

MBIE has produced Best Practice Guidelines for Working at Height in New Zealandthat provides practical guidance about how to actively manage working at height to prevent harm.

“All employers, contractors and employees who are required to work at height should read the guidelines to ensure they take appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of those working at height. Doing nothing is not an option.” Mr Howard added.