Builders 'put at risk' by shoddy scaffolding

ROB KIDD
Last updated 10:49 16/07/2014

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An Auckland building company has been fined $15,000 and told it "failed its workers" after allowing them to work at heights without adequate scaffolding.

WorkSafe New Zealand prosecuted Eden Homes Development after its employees Wei Qiang Sun and Ming Han were seen installing a roof in Glenfield without adequate edge-protection to help prevent falls.

No accident actually happened but Eden Homes was fined $15,000 in the North Shore District Court for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employees.

Scaffolding at the site was incomplete, and only provided protection for the first level of the construction site.

It was arranged by the homeowner, not Eden Homes.

WorkSafe NZ's Chief Investigator Keith Stewart said making the pair work at height without the appropriate scaffolding put them at real and unacceptable risk.

"Eden Homes Development should have ensured the scaffolding and edge protection was complete and adequate before allowing work to commence," he said.

"What is more, the company also failed to provide its workers with any other equipment to protect them and minimise the risk of falls in the absence of proper edge protection.

"Eden Homes Development also should have had a clear policy that employees will not carry out work at height if edge or fall protection is not in place. Quite simply, the company failed its workers.

"It was only a matter of good luck rather than good management that no-one was hurt in this case. This prosecution serves as a strong reminder to everyone in the building industry of the importance of ensuring they have proper protections in place before beginning any work at height," Stewart said.

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