Company Fined For Failing to Keep Employee & Community Safe

Press Release – Department Of Labour

A Wellington demolition company has today been fined $20,000 after a contractor was exposed to asbestos fibres and live electricity while working on an inner city site.13 December 2011

Company Fined For Failing to Keep Employee and Community Safe

A Wellington demolition company has today been fined $20,000 after a contractor was exposed to asbestos fibres and live electricity while working on an inner city site.

The Wellington District Court heard that Concrete Drilling and Cutting (1992) Limited was contracted to demolish two buildings in Wellington’s Willis Street.

“Concrete Drilling and Cutting failed to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employee during the demolition of the site,” says the Department’s Southern General Manager Jean Martin.

“In an inspection of the site, our inspectors found that the electricity had not been disconnected prior to demolition and testing identified that there was asbestos in the building.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that this employee and others in the vicinity of the site were exposed to asbestos, and live electricity. It is every employer’s duty under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 to ensure that safe practices are followed when carrying out demolition work,” Ms Martin says.

Willis Street Parking Limited, the company that engaged Concrete Drilling and Cutting to carry out the demolition has been charged with two breaches of the HSE Act and is yet to enter pleas to those charges. C&M Transport, the company that subsequently carried out the demolition work has pleaded not guilty to one charge under the HSE Act.

Concrete Drilling and Cutting (1992) Limited was convicted on one charge under Section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. This states: Every employer shall take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees while at work; and in particular shall take all practicable steps to—

o (a) provide and maintain for employees a safe working environment; and o (b) provide and maintain for employees while they are at work facilities for their safety and health; and o (c) ensure that plant used by any employee at work is so arranged, designed, made, and maintained that it is safe for the employee to use; and o (d) ensure that while at work employees are not exposed to hazards arising out of the arrangement, disposal, manipulation, organisation, processing, storage, transport, working, or use of things— (i) in their place of work; or (ii) near their place of work and under the employer’s control; and o (e) develop procedures for dealing with emergencies that may arise while employees are at work.

• Willis Street Parking Limited has been charged with two breaches under the HSE Act and is yet to enter a plea • C&M Transport has pleaded not guilty to one charge under the HSE Act • The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 is available online: here. • The Best Practice Guidelines for Demolition in New Zealand are available in html format online here.

ENDS

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