WorkSafe enforcements up

The enforcement actions issued for inadequate height protection in construction in New Zealand have risen nearly 500% in the past three years but prosecutions have fallen 90%.

In Otago, for the same period, enforcements have risen 180% but Dunedin had the only prosecution in New Zealand last year.

WorkSafe NZ figures released to the Otago Daily Times under the Official Information Act revealed 357 enforcement actions in New Zealand in 2011, 1258 in 2012 and 2112 last year.

But prosecutions in New Zealand fell, with 10 prosecutions in 2011, 8 in 2012 and one last year.

WorkSafe NZ construction and manufacturing manager Marcus Nalter said the figures revealed a ''positive'' trend because fewer serious harm injuries meant fewer prosecutions.

The increase in enforcement actions by New Zealand's 200 inspectors was a ''barrier at the top of the cliff''.

''We have gone on site and observed unsafe practices and activities and corrected them through enforcement.''

WorkSafe NZ's preventing falls from height campaign was being accepted by more workplaces and more scaffolding and edge protection was being used, he said.

The enforcement actions taken included written warnings, where there was non-compliance with the Health and Safety in Employment Act; improvement notices, where the non-compliance was not remedied before the inspector left; and prohibition notices, if there was a failure to comply that was likely to cause serious harm.

The Dunedin prosecution led to Everitt Enterprises being convicted and fined after Tyler Thompson fell from an unsecured extension ladder while dismantling an Allied Press printing press.

- shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

 

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