Fletcher admits safety failure after fall

DAVID CLARKSON
Last updated 11:30 08/11/2012

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Fletcher Construction faces sentencing next month after admitting failing to ensure the safety of an employee who was seriously injured in a fall on the Hotel Grand Chancellor demolition site in central Christchurch.

The man fell about 2.8 metres from a ladder on January 20, says information from the then Labour Department, which brought a prosecution under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

Counsel representing Fletcher Construction Company Ltd appeared at a Christchurch District Court session today and indicated a guilty plea by the company.

Judge Gary MacAskill remanded the case for sentencing on December 20.

The department's summary of facts said the charge of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employees while at work carried a maximum penalty of a $250,000 fine.

It said the fall happened during removal of beams and columns.

The ladder being used by the worker who fell was damaged and in poor condition. A second ladder was available but it was also damaged.

The department said "exposed work edges" exposed workers to the risk of a fall. It should have provided employees with an enclosed platform with guard rails to carry out their work.

It said the company should have adequately secured the covers it had over gaps in the floor, and there should have been signage to warn workers of the hazard. It should also have ensured that ladders were fit for their purpose and were tied off or "footed".

The summary said: "Since the accident, the defendant has implemented the use of platforms with guard rails, provided covers over the floor penetrations, ensuring these are adequately secured and marked, and ensured exposed edges were no longer exposed, through the use of guard rails."

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