Spotlight on construction safety

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 05:00 27/02/2013
Neil Stewart and David Peterson
Stacy Squires

NEW APPROACH: Neil Stewart of Frame Contracting left and David Peterson from Fletcher EQR with a new scheme to identify the most hazardous factors on any given construction site.

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EQC and Fletcher EQR say they are taking urgent action that the Government advised is necessary to avoid deaths in Christchurch's rebuild.

They have launched the Safe6 campaign that will identify the biggest hazards on construction sites throughout the region in a bid to avoid the deaths, lost work days and ACC claims predicted by the Government.

EQC customer services manager Bruce Emson said yesterday he did not want to "read about another forklift death or any fatality" or see families lose loved ones.

Anthony Wells, 47, a worker for Busck Prestressed Concrete, was killed on Monday when he was hit by a forklift.

The accident coincided with a warning from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

Canterbury health and safety programme director Kathryn Heiler said that based on the estimated number of workers involved in the rebuild through to 2018, one or two construction-related deaths could be expected every year.

Further deaths or ill health caused by exposure to workplace hazards were also likely. Up to 600,000 working days could be lost because of "workplace injury and illness" as well as up to $80 million in ACC entitlements.

Emson said the Safe6 campaign would involve identifying the risks associated with falls from heights, electrical work, operating vehicles, exposure to asbestos, confined spaces and personal threat across all Fletcher EQR and EQC workplaces.

He said New Zealanders, particularly young males, had a "bulletproof mentality".

"There has been enough tragic deaths in Canterbury ... we do not need any more," Emson said.

Fletcher EQR general manager David Peterson said Safe6 would draw people's attention to the most serious risks.

"It's not enough to make rules about safety. There has to be an active programme in place to challenge the mindset and behaviours that lead to accidents."

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