A Rotorua engineer is calling for scaffolding companies to use steel instead of wooden planks after he suffered head injuries when he fell from a rotting wooden plank. He says steel is safer and easier than wood to test to ensure it's safe.
Rotorua company A-Z Rigging and Scaffolding was last week fined $30,000 and ordered to pay reparation of $15,500 to Rotorua engineer Jared Tulloch.
Mr Tulloch, who works for Transom Engineering, suffered head injuries when he fell 3.5m from a rotten plank after it snapped in July last year while he was working on a building extension on White St.
Investigations revealed the plank was riddled with soft-rot fungi and the company had also failed to fully secure the plank to the scaffolding.
The Rotorua District Court was told the company was contracted to supply and install scaffolding at the local building site.
A-Z Rigging and Scaffolding pleaded guilty to two charges brought under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.
Mr Tulloch said he suffered a cracked skull in two places and two bleeds to his brain which ended up as blood clots. He has suffered head spins and headaches. He said he never used to get headaches and now gets them every few weeks. He was knocked unconscious and said he couldn't remember much of the fall.
"I remember eating a pie for smoko. The next thing I remember was waking up in hospital four days later."
Mr Tulloch said he was conscious during those four days but didn't remember what happened during them. He was off work for nine months. His partner had just found out she was pregnant with their second child before the fall. The incident had left him $25,000 out of pocket.
A-Z Rigging and Scaffolding director Dudley Hoskin told The Daily Post last week he felt bad for what had happened to Mr Tulloch and the company's Bay of Plenty supervisor had met Mr Tulloch and apologised to him.
However, Mr Tulloch said he had never met the company or received an apology. Mr Hoskin said they had offered to pay more in reparation than the $15,500 - but Mr Tulloch was not aware of that.
He was "brassed off" at the company for the way he had been treated and would have appreciated an apology from them.
"I haven't heard anything from them."
Mr Tulloch said as a result of the fall he was more cautious about working on scaffolding particularly if it was wooden.
"I get someone else up there first."
He said he was aware that newer scaffolding companies were using steel scaffolding but he believed that all scaffolding companies should use steel as it was easier to do safety tests on them.
Mr Hoskin said he had been told by the Bay of Plenty supervisor that he had apologised to the company Mr Tulloch worked for. Mr Hoskin said he would be willing to meet Mr Tulloch and apologise to him.
Mr Hoskin said he had told the judge he was willing to pay more reparation than what the Department of Labour recommended. He has said they were doing regular and rigorous testing and the company was going to use steel planks instead of timber to ensure there wasn't a repeat of the incident.