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Worker crushed by 2.5 tonne concrete panel

Media Release

31 January 2012

A Wellington transport company has been fined $30,000 following an accident in March last year where a self employed contractor was lucky to survive being crushed by a 2.5 tonne concrete panel.

Rough Terrain Transport Limited was also ordered to pay $20,000 in reparation to the contractor who broke his right shoulder and both legs and ankles in the accident on 4 March 2011.

The Porirua District Court heard that Rough Terrain Transport Limited was contracted by Wallace Building Contractors Limited (WBCL) to transport precast concrete panels from a building site in Porirua.

The Department of Labour investigation found that an employee from Rough Terrain Transport Limited was asked to transport two concrete panels using a process he had never performed before.  The employee was not adequately trained or supervised to carry out the task correctly.

“The Rough Terrain Transport employee was assisted by a contractor from WBCL as he unloaded the panels, which were secured by a single strop which had to be released so one panel could be chained to the crane and hoisted to the ground,” says the Department’s Southern General Manager Jean Martin.

“While one panel was connected to the crane, the other was left unsecured and fell onto the contractor before it could be secured,” says Ms Martin.

“The result was lacerations to his head and face, a broken right shoulder and broken bones in both legs and both ankles - very serious injuries that could have been prevented.

“Our investigation found that Rough Terrain Transport Limited failed to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of the self employed contractor.

“Rough Terrain Transport Limited simply did not obtain sufficient information from WBCL on the assigned job and they did not have an understanding of their employee’s knowledge and experience.

“The simple act of supervision could have helped prevent this accident,” says Ms Martin.

ENDS

Notes to Editor