Cleaner quits in safety row

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A cleaner at a Tauranga shopping arcade where a man slipped and broke his ribs has resigned, citing safety concerns among his reasons.

Ben Goodall, 32, said he had been working as a cleaner at the Goddard Centre for six months but resigned last week.

The move comes after 74-year-old Les Duncan, owner of Unique Leather and Luggage, slipped on wet tiles as he walked past Suga Fix Cafe in the Goddard Centre last week.

Mr Goodall said in his view the flooring surface posed a danger.

"It's a safety issue. They have waited so long for something to happen and they still might not do anything about it. That's just not fair."

He said it was unfair on the man who had already injured.

"When it's dry, it's fine. But the moment it's got water on it, or someone walks in with wet shoes, it's dangerous."

"Whether it comes from a leaky roof, brought in from outside or whatever, it doesn't matter.

"If it was me, I would rip the whole thing up and put some other flooring down.

"The floor itself, no matter what you do to it, has some amount of slip."

Mr Goodall said he had spoken to a number of shop assistants who had witnessed other falls. "There are definitely accounts from people in the shops who have seen other people fall over."

The Bay of Plenty Times attempted to speak to staff at four Goddard Centre shops close to where Mr Duncan had fallen.

All declined to comment. One shop assistant initially spoke about injuries sustained by other people who had suffered falls. She later retracted her statement, having been told she was not allowed to comment.

Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby said safety in public places was paramount.

"Flooring in public places should be slip-resistant, especially in areas of high traffic. The public is potentially at risk.

"Those responsible should remedy the situation as quickly as possible."

Angela Scott, Tauranga Age Concern chairwoman, said the issue should be followed up.

"It's a matter of public safety and should be followed up to make it safe. If it's dangerous, anyone could slip - a child, a pregnant woman. It's a management issue and should be addressed."

Property manager Paul Kilsby said he did not want to comment.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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