Rodney Stephen Bishop

Court Summary - at a glance

Date of offence:
14 May 2014 and 27 May 2014
 
Plea:
Guilty
 
Decision:
• Convicted
• Withdrawn
 
Final decision date:
 
Fine imposed:
4 months Home Detention

Safety lessons learned:
  • Ensure a geotechnical inspection of the site was obtained to ascertain the cohesion and stability of the soil before commencing excavation; and
  • Ensure that adequate precautions against trench face collapse, such as using shoring or trench shields, were taken.

Defendant name:
Rodney Stephen Bishop
 
Industry:
Building and construction
 
Date of offence:
14 May 2014 and 27 May 2014
 
Facts in brief:
The Defendant is the managing director of Steelcon Construction Limited, a company which installed effluent management systems and tanks, along with farm underpasses, bridges, feed bunkers and feed pads. The company manufactured concrete components in its workshop and performed the necessary earthworks and excavations.

On 14 May 2014, Mr Bishop was operating an excavator to dig a trench so that pipe work could be installed for an effluent pond on a farm. An employee was required to go into the trench to carry out work. The excavated trench was more than 1.5 metres deep, and its sides had not been protected against collapse. A foreman from another construction company on site warned the defendant of the risks in failing to take those steps, but was ignored.

On 27 May 2014, the victim was working with Mr Bishop preparing for installation of a tank at another farm. Mr Bishop had dug a 4 metre deep trench with an excavator, so that pipe work could be installed. The excavation had not been protected from collapse by shoring, sloping or battering. The victim was standing in the trench when approximately 5 cubic metres of soil from the trench face collapsed and buried him. Despite immediate rescue efforts, the victim died at the scene.
 
Related prosecutions:
 
Offence section:
Sections 6, 49(2), 49(3) and 56(1) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (x2)
 
Date charged:

Court:
Hamilton - High Court
 
Plea:
Guilty
 
Final decision date:
 
Decision:
• Convicted
• Withdrawn
 
Fine imposed:
4 months Home Detention
 
Maximum fine available:
$500,000 fine and/or 2 years imprisonment.
 
Reparation:
Not applicable