Family learn of charges through media

By Anna Ferrick

1 comment
Jeff McCulloch was killed after being hit by a steel beam on a Napier work site. Photo/Supplied.
Jeff McCulloch was killed after being hit by a steel beam on a Napier work site. Photo/Supplied.

Family members of a man killed on a building site earlier this year are angry they heard of charges laid in relation to his death only through media - and not from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Jeff McCulloch, 53, was working as a foreman on the site of the old Farmers building in Napier when he was hit by a steel beam in May. He was unable to be revived and died on the scene.

The Ministry confirmed to media last week that charges had been laid under the Health and Safety in Employment Act but would not comment on the nature of the charges or who had been charged.

A spokesperson for the family, who did not wish to be identified, contacted Hawke's Bay Today late last week after receiving a call from a friend to say confirmation of the charges were in two local newspapers.

"I find it very upsetting, the family have found it very upsetting, his mum, his sisters, his daughters all had to read about it in the paper," the spokesperson said.

"It's not just a news item to us, he's our family member."

The woman said she was under the impression they would be the first to know if and when charges were laid.

She said she had since spoken to a man at the Ministry who had attempted to phone Mr McCulloch's sister and sent a letter.

"It turned out he had the wrong number for her and the letter only turned up this evening [Friday]. It's no good sending a letter and hoping for the best."

The woman said Mr McCulloch's sister had still not received a phone call from the Ministry despite her giving them the right contact number.

"I've spoken to the family about it and we just want to say 'hey we did not know about this, we should have been the first to know'. We're all in agreement that if we speak up it might stop another poor family having to read about something like this in the paper.

"To me and my family they could have tried a little bit harder. They could have asked the police for our numbers."

"It would be nice if our feelings and thoughts had been taken into consideration."

A spokesperson for the Ministry said it would "normally" alert families about prosecutions. He was unable to investigate further before Hawke's Bay Today went to print.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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