Boat worker's fall costs company $45k

By Ben Chapman-Smith

Brin Wilson Boats is based at Gulf Harbour, north of Auckland. Photo / Ross Setford
Brin Wilson Boats is based at Gulf Harbour, north of Auckland. Photo / Ross Setford

A Whangaparaoa boat building company has been ordered to pay $45,000 after one of its workers was seriously injured in a fall from height.

An employee of Brin Wilson Boats fell more than three metres while reattaching handrails to a dry-docked boat in February this year.

The North Shore District Court heard that the worker reached for a handrail which had been removed for cleaning and left on top of the cabin the day before.

He suffered injuries to his head and face as well as a broken left wrist.

Brin Wilson Boats was fined $30,000 and ordered to pay reparations of $15,000.

The hazards of falls from height are now well recognised and documented, said Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) spokesperson John Howard.

Howard said there is plenty of guidance on how to avoid falls from height, both generally and specifically for the boat-building industry.

"No matter what height people are working at, there is risk involved and MBIE expects everyone with staff or contractors to actively manage this significant hazard."

MBIE had already produced guidelines for working at height in New Zealand and doing nothing was "not an option", Howard said.

"All employers, contractors and employees who are required to work at height should read the guidelines to ensure they take appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of those working at height."

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