Richdale Builders Limited

Court Summary - at a glance

Date of offence:
23 September 2015
 
Plea:
Guilty
 
Decision:
Convicted
 
Final decision date:
 
Fine imposed:
$42,000

Safety lessons learned:
  1. Before work is commenced, ensure a hazard and risk assessment is undertaken to identify the hazards involved in carrying out the work;
  2. Ensure adequate control measures are put in place to address the hazard of working at height. For example: the Defendant failed to ensure that the guardrail was securely fixed in place before any work on the mezzanine floor commenced;
  3. Ensure that employees are informed when a guardrail is only temporarily fixed in place; and
  4. Ensure access to a mezzanine floor is cordoned off with a barrier and signage preventing access when a guardrail is only temporarily fixed.

Defendant name:
Richdale Builders Limited
 
Industry:
Building and construction
 
Date of offence:
23 September 2015
 
Facts in brief:
The Defendant is a small light commercial building and property maintenance company.

At the time of the incident, the Defendant was fitting out its newly-built commercial premises. The Defendant constructed a mezzanine floor in the premises which is 2.85 metres above the main floor.

On 18 September 2015, the director of the Defendant installed a guardrail for the mezzanine floor which consisted of a sturdy metal pipe construction with an outward-opening two-sided gate. The gate was to allow loads to be lifted up to the mezzanine using a forklift. The guardrail was temporarily fixed in place with seven 50mm Tek screws, it was not securely bolted in place.

On 23 September 2015, the director of the Defendant instructed employees to lift some shelving units up to the mezzanine floor using the forklift. When the victim, an employee of the Defendant, opened the right-hand side of the gate from the mezzanine, the right-hand section of the guardrail became detached and fell, with the victim, to the ground below.

The victim suffered multiple head injuries, including a subdural haematoma, contusions (bruising) of brain tissue, a fracture to the skull and concussion. He also suffered a serious fracture of the right shoulder blade where the bone was splintered in several places, and fractures to the L1 and L2 vertebrae.
 
Offence section:
Sections 6 and 50(1)(a) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
 
Date charged:

Court:
Christchurch - District Court
 
Plea:
Guilty
 
Final decision date:
 
Decision:
Convicted
 
Fine imposed:
$42,000
 
Maximum fine available:
$250,000
 
Reparation:
$25,310