Wellington business fined $500,000 for unsafe ladders that resulted in worker's fatal fall

A Wellington business has been sentenced and fined over $500,000, following an incident that saw a worker die from a fall of nearly three metres in January 2017.

A Wellington District Court judge found that the worker had died as a result of CentrePort Limited's failure to implement a safe system for repairing containers. While using a ladder used to access the roof of a container, the worker fell and hit his head on the concrete.

The port was fined $506,048 as a result - that figure raising to over $800,000 including reparations for the worker's family.

In a statement, WorkSafe Head of Specialist Interventions Simon Humphries said that the death was avoidable.

"There were numerous health and safety failings made by CentrePort that led to the worker's death," Mr Humphries said.

"The port had developed safe working procedures but failed to ensure that these procedures were implemented where the victim was working. WorkSafe also found that ladders were not being tied off and those that were in use were in poor repair, and there was no auditing to ensure that they were safe and appropriate for use. Further, there was no edge or fall protection in place to protect workers.

"Safe operating procedures are there for a reason, particularly in the case of working at height which is a well-known and significant risk and they must be implemented and fully embedded in a workplace.

"In addition, particular care and diligence should be taken to ensure that equipment that is used to access work at height is safe and in good working order," said Mr Humphries.

"The tragic death of this worker should serve as a reminder to every business whose workers undertake their duties off the ground that even a fall from a relatively low height can be fatal.

"This incident is a stark demonstration that complacency has no place in workplace health and safety."

This isn't the first instance of the death of a CentrePort worker. The company was fined $75,000 following the death of Titahi Bay man and father-of-three Mark Samoa in 2015.

Wellington's Centreport Source: 1 NEWS