Worker breaks leg in power pole fall
13 December 2010
Working at heights is dangerous and the Department of Labour is reminding employers to ensure their employees are safe while they’re at work.
The message follows today’s sentencing of Eastern Transmission and Installations Company Limited trading as Coastpower after one of its employees broke his leg in an accident on 3 December 2008.
Coastpower was fined $70,000 and ordered to pay reparation of $15,000 at the Gisborne District Court.
Coastpower had been contracted to remove approximately seven power poles and conductors and to install an underground power supply to a farm on Riverside Road in Gisborne.
The Department of Labour investigation revealed the employee had climbed one of the poles to cut away conductors, securing himself to the pole with his belt. As he cut the last conductor the pole broke and fell to the ground, landing on top of him and fracturing his leg.
“If the company had properly assessed the risks before starting to remove the poles and conductors this accident could have been prevented,” says the Department’s Napier Service Manager, Murray Thomson.
“If employees must work at heights their employers should properly identify the hazards involved and take steps to manage them. This can prevent someone from dying or being hurt while at work.
“Too many workers are being hurt or killed by falling from heights in the construction industry. This is an area of focus for the Department and is part of our Harm Reduction programme to reduce the toll.”
Note to Editor
- Eastern Transmission and Installations Company Limited trading as Coastpower was convicted on one charge under Section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.
- Section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 states: Every employer shall take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees while at work; and in particular shall take all practicable steps to—
- provide and maintain for employees a safe working environment; and
- provide and maintain for employees while they are at work facilities for their safety and health; and
- ensure that plant used by any employee at work is so arranged, designed, made, and maintained that it is safe for the employee to use; and
- ensure that while at work employees are not exposed to hazards arising out of the arrangement, disposal, manipulation, organisation, processing, storage, transport, working, or use of things—
- in their place of work; or
- near their place of work and under the employer's control; and
- develop procedures for dealing with emergencies that may arise while employees are at work.
- The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 is available online