Dunedin City Council-owned company Delta has been fined and ordered to pay reparation to a worker who fell six metres after low voltage arcing on lines he was working on in Cardrona.
Delta had earlier pleaded guilty and was sentenced in the Queenstown District Court yesterday on a charge under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the employee was not exposed to the hazard of low-voltage electricity while at work.
The worker was completing a service connection in Cardrona, near Queenstown, in November 2014 but failed to disconnect the power supply before working on the line, a WorkSafe New Zealand investigation found.
His crescent spanner made contact with the power line, causing a low voltage arc which caused him to fall to the ground. He suffered compound fractures to his left leg and a fractured lumbar vertebra.
The man remained unfit for work and continued to receive medical treatment.
"Delta should have had an effective policy in place that required the worker to eliminate the risk of such an incident. In this case, that would have meant disconnecting the power completely at the road," WorkSafe chief Inspector Keith Stewart said.
"None of Delta's written policies specifically required elimination, nor any explanation of how the hazard could have been eliminated.
"Elimination of any hazard at work is always preferable to isolating it and Delta could have prevented this unfortunate incident if it had provided written guidance on how to eliminate the risk of low voltage arcing," Mr Stewart said.
Delta was fined $35,000 and ordered to pay reparation of $49,600.