Press Release – Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment
Carter Holt Harvey has been fined $33,000 and ordered to pay the victim $12,000 in reparations after he fell through the eaves of its Carters building supplies store in Porirua in November last year.
The company pleaded guilty in the Porirua District Court today to one charge of failing to take all practicable steps to protect the victim.
The man accessed an area off the building’s mezzanine floor in search of a product for a customer. Product stored in this area often fell through the shelves into another area which was in the eaves of the building. This area did not have any flooring covering the joists and the Hardieboard lining of the eaves fixed to the underside of the joists.
As he returned from the area, he stepped onto the Hardieboard and fell through the eaves sustaining a broken rib, several broken bones in the lumbar region of his spine and lacerations.
“Carters management knew their staff had to get into this dangerous space to retrieve product, but made no effort to stop the product falling into the area, or to cover the brittle lining to ensure the area was safe to access,” Health and Safety group Chief Inspector Investigations Keith Stewart said.
“It was only as a result of this preventable injury to a staff member that Carters remedied the problem.
“Carters should have acted as soon as they knew staff were going into this dangerous space. Their corrective action came too late for this victim,” Mr Stewart said
Section 6, Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 – maximum fine $250,000
Employers to ensure safety of employees
• 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—
• (a) provide and maintain for employees a safe working environment; and
• (b) provide and maintain for employees while they are at work facilities for their safety and health; and
• (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
• (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
• (e) develop procedures for dealing with emergencies that may arise while employees are at work.