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Sun December 08 2019

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Accident unloading boom lift leaves NZ worker paralysed

7 Aug A New Zealand company has been fined more than NZ$300,000 (£160,000) plus reparations after an accident on site left a worker permanently paralysed from the neck down.

Supermac Group Resources Limited has been fined NZ $304,750 and ordered to pay reparation of NZ$238,000 following the incident in May 2016.

The worker was unloading a boom lift from a transporter at a construction site in Kerikeri when the boom lift slipped off the transporter. The worker was catapulted from the boom lift and will never walk again. He had not been trained to use the boom lift and was not wearing a restraining harness as he was working; these are requirements clearly stated in the Best Practice Guidelines for Mobile Elevating Work Platforms.

It is critical that when businesses are asking their workers to use any machinery, they ensure they’ve been trained to do so and follow all safety practice, said the chief inspector of specialist interventions at New Zealand safety authority WorkSafe’s Hayden Mander.

“We are seeing too many cases where workers are being injured because basic safety procedures laid down in industry and regulator best practice requirements are not being met,” said Mander. “Risks involved in using machinery are very easy to identify, and too many businesses are failing in their duty to keep their workers safe by not putting controls in place to manage the risks. In this case, the business should have trained the worker before he was allowed onto the machine, and should have ensured that a safety harness was available and worn.

“These are easy things to do. Supermac’s failure to do them has left a worker paralysed from the chest down and facing the future knowing he will never be able to walk again.”

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