Time to Take Contractor Safety Seriously!

A $40,000 Reminder to Take Contractor Safety Seriously!

We are reminded regularly about the responsibilities of business to take all practicable steps to ensure employee and contractor safety on-site.  Just having the right gear does not constitute the extent of the requirements under the HSE Act. Just telling a contactor what is required is also not enough.

This judgement passed down against a local construction company this week shows that consequences of not having the right checks and balances in place with contractors cannot only result in harm to those for whom you are responsible, but that WorkSafe NZ are taking action that will hit your bottom line.

Media Release from WorkSafe NZ, 10 September, 2014.

Auckland company CMP Construction Limited has been fined $30,000 and ordered to pay reparation of $10,000 after an employee of a sub-contractor fell from a height of five metres.

Mohammad Ouzoun suffered multiple fractures and significant head injuries after the fall in August 2013, and suffers ongoing medical effects including headaches and amnesia.

Mr Ouzoun was installing the supporting frame for the roof of a new retirement home in Albany when he stepped on a piece of timber that had yet to be fixed down, causing him to fall five metres onto the concrete floor below. Fall protection equipment including mobile scaffolds, a scissor lift and thirty ‘fall arrest’ bean bags were available at the site, but was not being used.

CMP Construction was convicted in the North Shore District Court and sentenced yesterday under sections 18 and 50 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure Mr Ouzoun was not harmed at work.

WorkSafe New Zealand’s Programme Manager Construction and Manufacturing, Marcus Nalter, says CMP Construction should have ensured that the fall protection equipment that was provided was used.

“CMP Construction had verbally advised Mr Ouzoun’s employer that the scissor lift and bean bags should be used while work was being done on the upper area of the roof trusses. But it did not ensure that the sub-contractor’s fall protection controls were properly documented or that the risk analysis for the task was reviewed, updated and followed.

“Falls from height are one of the most common causes of serious injuries in construction. There is simply no excuse for construction companies not to ensure there is a proper plan in place to minimise the risk of falls,” says Marcus Nalter.

When working at heights there are always significant risks.  Make sure you, your employees and contractors have the right training, equipment and that they understand their responsibilities to contribute to a safe working environment. Remember, It’s always a good time to review your onsite induction training processes.