$230k settlement after scaffold fall

Bramwell Scaffolding in Dunedin. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Bramwell Scaffolding in Dunedin. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Dunedin building companies Stevenson and Williams and Bramwell Scaffolding will pay a combined $230,000 as part of a settlement agreement with WorkSafe New Zealand.

In October 2019, both contractors entered into an ‘‘enforceable undertaking’’ with WorkSafe for an on site incident in 2018 which resulted in injuries to a painting contractor who fell 3.5 metres off scaffolding.

The contractor took four weeks off work as a result of the injuries.

In terms of the undertaking, the companies paid a combined $40,000 to the victim, have committed to upgrading their respective health and safety management systems and have also made donations to the LifeMatters Suicide Prevention Trust.

Stevenson and Williams has committed to total payments of $102,402, and Bramwell to total payments of $128,741.

The incident occurred in June 2018 during work on 15 three-storey residential apartments at 48 Park Street.

Stevenson and Williams, which employs 55 staff, was lead contractor.

The company contracted Bramwell to supply propping scaffolding and roof edge protection.

The contractor, who worked for Wren, was applying primer to various balcony decks and during the work leaned on a railing which gave way, resulting in the fall and various injuries.

Subsequent investigation determined that the certified scaffolder on site had left the site for personal reasons and that scaffolding erection had been left to a spanner hand.

No qualified inspection had been done following that work.

Stevenson and Williams managing director Rob Cunningham said the company had been ‘‘devastated’’ by the incident and the injury.

He said he had immediately visited the site to determine what had gone wrong, and had also seen the worker.

‘‘He is back at work now and we are just happy that it didn’t turn out any worse.

‘‘We are absolutely committed to taking all the steps necessary, putting the necessary systems and process in place to make [it] sure doesn’t happen again.’’

Mr Cunningham said the company had long prided itself on its attention to safety and systems.

‘‘This is a low point for us and we fully intend to learn from the unfortunate circumstance around it.’’

Mr Cunningham said while there had obviously been a problem with the scaffolding in this instance, Bramwell remained as a preferred contactor and was definitely one of the ‘‘best in the business’’.