NZ: FINES FOR TEEN CONSTRUCTION FATALITY

A teenager, 19 years old and just four months into a building apprenticeship, died at a residential construction site in the Bay of Plenty region on New Zealand's North Island after being struck by timber framing.

The company he worked for, Inspire Building Ltd, and the main contractor, Thorne Group, were both charged with breaching New Zealand's Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 for failing to ensure, as far as was reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers involved in erecting prefabricated timber frames, exposing them to a risk of death or serious injury through that failure.

They neglected to properly plan tasks and didn't use mechanical aids to lift heavy frames, which led to the accident. 

Inspire and Thorne were fined NZ$30,000 (A$28,028) and NZ$210,000 (A$196,195) respectively, with the former PCBU's penalty reduced because of its poor financial position. Both PCBUs were ordered to pay a total of NZ$130,000 (A$121,454) in reparations to the killed worker's family, and NZ$15,072 (A$14,081) to a fellow apprentice who witnessed the incident.

The Tauranga District Court heard that at the time of the March 2022 incident, timber framing was being manually installed at the site, and a timber support brace had just been removed, allowing one frame to fall and hit a second, 350-kilogram frame, which toppled onto and killed the teenager.

The Court found that Inspire and Thorne should have, but failed to, consult on the installation plan for the framing and ensure that a mechanical aid, such as a truck-mounted crane, was used to lift and support the frames.

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