Worker falls from man cage

A residential construction company was sentenced in the Auckland District Court yesterday after a worker fell more than three metres from a man cage attached to a tractor.

New Vision Building and Construction Limited was ordered to pay the victim $15,000 in reparation. A training order was also ordered to ensure the director and workers undertake specified height safety training courses following the incident in Kerikeri in April 2018 in which workers were using a man cage to work at a height while building an agricultural shed.

WorkSafe’s Acting Chief Inspector Danielle Henry said none of the workers were trained in the use of height safety equipment, or supervised by a competent person.

“They were also unable to identify that the forklift attachment holding the uncertified man cage was not securely attached to the tractor.”

“When the fork attachment and man cage became detached from the tractor’s front loader, the worker came down with the cage, falling out of it as it dropped. As their harness wasn’t connected correctly, the worker’s legs were able to hit the ground in the fall.”

The worker suffered bruised joints and damaged ligaments to his knees in the fall, Ms Henry

said.

WorkSafe’s investigation also discovered that workers had not been given proper information, instruction or training in the use of height access equipment prior to the work taking place. New Vision also failed to adequately consult, cooperate and coordinate activities with a PCBU with respective duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 to ensure the risks of working at height were appropriately managed.

“Workers who carry out work at height should be competent in the identification and safe use of the most appropriate tool for the task they are undertaking. New Vision Building and Construction Limited failed to ensure appropriate plant and equipment was used by its workers, and failed to develop an effective safe system of work for the construction of the shed.

“The equipment used in this incident was not appropriate for the task and no one should have been allowed to operate the tractor and conduct work from height in the manner which occurred,” Ms Henry said.

Notes:

  • Reparation of $15,000 (includes $1144 consequential loss) was ordered.
  • Ordered to undertake a specified course of training under section 158 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
  • New Vision Building and Construction Limited was sentenced under sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and 2(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
    • Being a PCBU, having a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers who work for the PCBU, while the workers are at work in the business or undertaking, namely constructing an agricultural shed, did fail to comply with that duty, and that failure exposed any individual to a risk of death or serious injury arising from a fall from height.
  • S 48(2)(c) carries a maximum penalty of $1,500,000.

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