Wellington company fined $24,000

Last updated 18:56 01/05/2012

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A Chow brothers company has been fined $24,000 after the power was left on at the demolition of the historic Settlement restaurant in Wellington's Willis St.

John and Michael Chow's company, Willis St Parking, arranged for the demolition of the former restaurant in January 2011.

It was halted after asbestos was found and dealt with.

The company has pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Health and Safety Act after an employee of the contractors, Concrete Cutting and Drilling, was exposed to live electricity and asbestos.

Wellington District Court judge Carrie Wainwright said Willis St Parking had not had a blatant disregard for the safety of a worker, rather they had wrongly assumed all obligations and risk assessment fell to the contractor.

Concrete Cutting and Drilling pleaded guilty last year and has already been fined $20,000.

The back wall of the building contained asbestos, a known carcinogen, and the demolition was carried out while electricity was still running to the site.

The Labour Department said after the case: ''Having live electricity in a building being demolished is an obvious hazard and the potential for harm is significant. Being exposed to asbestos fibres is also a serious health hazard and, while the contractors were lucky not be harmed at the time, their safety was put at risk, which is totally unacceptable.''

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- The Dominion Post

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