A worker has been awarded more than $400,000 after a four-metre fall at work left him paralysed.

Rope access specialists Strings Attached Limited was ordered to pay a total of $404,514 to their staff member, who will never walk again.

The incident occurred in East Tamaki in November 2017.

The company had been contracted to repair a leaking roof at a commercial building and, to allow access to the roof, had to install a ladder and access hatch, WorkSafe said in a statement this afternoon.


The hatch was installed incorrectly and the worker hit his head on the wooden frame while climbing the ladder - resulting in him falling four metres to the floor.

WorkSafe's acting chief inspector Danielle Henry said the worker sustained "serious spinal damage."

"The incorrect hatch installation was the genesis of the incident. It was not inspected by an engineer prior to use, or deemed code compliant," said Henry.

"The hatch was installed with good intention – but without correct installation to meet appropriate building codes it was not effective in keeping workers safe.

No fine was imposed due to the company's financial position.

Reparations of $110,000 was ordered, as well as $294,514 in consequential loss.

Strings Attached Limited was sentenced under the Health and Safety at Work Act for failing to comply with a duty to ensure the health and safety of workers so far as reasonably practicable.

WorkSafe urged businesses to remember that "working to installation guidelines, Approved Codes of Practice and building code requirements all contribute to safer work in the industry," said Henry.