Capital Glass prosecution
Wednesday 19 July 2000
The Occupational Safety and Health Service (OSH) is repeating warnings about the dangers of working at heights.
The warning follows a court case in Wellington today where Capital Glass Company Limited was prosecuted after an accident in October last year. A part time employee received serious injuries after he fell more than eight metres from a building site in McFarlane Street, Wellington.
Capital Glass pleaded guilty in the Wellington District Court to a charge taken under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of an employee.
The worker was injured when the ladder he was using to span the gap between two houses slipped and fell, taking him with it.
He fell over eight metres and suffered abrasions and a compressed fracture of a vertebrae. The injury meant he was unable to work for over two months.
OSHs Wellington branch manager Keith Stewart said the accident highlighted the dangers inherent in working at heights. For the year ending 30 June 2000, OSH investigated 14 deaths resulting from falls from heights in the construction industry. This made it by far in away the leading cause of deaths invested by OSH. Many other workers have suffered serious injuries.
"This case was an accident waiting to happen. The employee did not receive any formal safety training, he was working unsupervised and was working at height without safety gear.
"It is remarkable that he only sustained the level of injury he did, the fall could have easily resulted in a fatality.
"It is extremely disappointing that there are companies out there that dont seem to be getting the message that working at height is extremely dangerous. People have to be aware of the hazard and do something about it."