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Porirua council work accidents double

KRIS DANDO
Last updated 10:02 07/01/2014

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A parks worker breaking his pelvis and elbow when he slipped off the back of a truck was one of 34 accidents reported by Porirua City Council in 2013 - double the number from a year ago.

A report to the council's audit and risk management committee last month contained a health and safety briefing.

Although it said there were no "serious harm incidents" in the quarter to September 30, an accident on October 30 in Bothamley Park ruined the spotless record.

The parks employee slipped and fell off the side of a truck while rearranging the load before it was taken away. He suffered a broken pelvis and elbow.

The incident was investigated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, which was satisfied with Porirua City Council's inquiry into the incident and took no further action.

Other incidents in the previous quarter were an Environmental Health officer getting bitten on the arm by an unrestrained dog, an employee in the works operations department feeling a back twinge while pulling on a boot and a gardener who slipped while weedeating, "causing pain in the arm".

The report noted that more accidents were being reported of "lesser severity".

Council chief executive Gary Simpson said he was comfortable with the health and safety practices the council had in place.

"It's down to us being more aware and accurate, and taking more precautions, and I'm confident we are," he said.

"We can do better no matter how good we are - any organisation would say that.

"Health and safety at this council is well-led."

Mr Simpson said he wanted the council to move from a reactive to a "perpetually proactive state" with regard to its health and safety structures.

He said it had people on uneven ground using machinery and others sitting for long periods in front of a computer, so all types of employees needed to be catered for.

"Our methods and systems are there for the safety of our people - that has to be at the front of our thinking."

Mr Simpson said an ACC audit was being carried out and that the council was well aware of the Heath and Safety Reform Bill, which is in the select committee process.

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