Road workers injured on job

By Kiri Gillespie

More than 50 people have been injured while working on Western Bay of Plenty roads and bridges in the past two years.

In figures released to the Bay of Plenty Times, 29 claims were lodged with ACC in each of 2012 and 2011.

Spraymarks site supervisor Rangi Potae described his job as "very dangerous", with impatient or older drivers not paying attention to slow speed zones a particular problem.

"We are always keeping an eye out for people that don't see the signs," Mr Potae said.

"Older people might not even see any signs at all."

Mr Potae, who was working for contractor Higgins at Pooles Rd yesterday, said it was an industry-wide problem.

"I expect traffic to take notice of my lights on my truck but they don't always. So I'm always, constantly, observing these hazards," he said.

"Some people might be late for work, so they don't want to wait behind a truck and they try to shoot the gap."

In Mr Potae's 12 years in the industry, his only workplace injuries involved rolling his ankle twice.

"Both times it was from jumping out of my truck and landing on a stone or something."

Strains and sprains were among the most common injuries sustained by workers in 2011 and 2012.

Despite the daily use of hot tar and asphalt, Mr Potae said he had never known anyone suffer burns while on the job.

In the ACC figures, fewer than three workers sustained a burn-like injury in the past two years.

New Zealand Transport Agency state highways manager Brett Gliddon said although it took speeding through any construction seriously, most of the injuries on sites in the past two years were not linked to vehicles travelling at unsafe speeds.

"Injuries on site are more likely to be linked to general injuries, for example, while using tools on the job or from slips, trips and falls," Mr Gliddon said.

"With respect to the Tauranga Eastern Link, of the minor injuries we have had on site, they have been rolled ankles, strained backs and bruising of hands and arms."

Mr Gliddon said the safety of workers on roads was a shared responsibility between drivers and construction staff.

ACC spokesman Glenn Donovan said the figures were based on information provided by the claimant at the time.

No one from Fulton Hogan or Downer construction was able to comment yesterday. The Amalgamated Workers Union did not respond to messages.

Injuries to road and bridge construction workers


  • Fracture/dislocation <3

  • Laceration, puncture, sting 4, plus <3 WBOP

  • Pain syndrome <3

  • Soft tissue injury (bruises, strains and sprains) 12, plus <3 WBOP

  • Other 8


  • Burns, scald, corrosive injury <3

  • Foreign body in orifice/eye <3

  • Hernia <3

  • Laceration, puncture, sting 4

  • Soft tissue injury (bruises, strains and sprains) 17, plus 4 WBOP

  • Other <3

- Source: ACC

- Bay of Plenty Times

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