Six workers who fell into the water after scaffolding collapsed under Panmure Bridge can count their blessings it wasn't concrete below them - but there will be no lucky escape for the project manager WPS Opus International, says WorkSafe.
The health and safety agency said it had accepted an application for "enforceable undertaking" from the engineering consultancy in lieu of a prosecution but the agreed terms "will hold them to account for their failings".
Six workers escaped serious injury - one was trapped in the collapsed scaffolding - after falling in the water during maintenance work on the bridge in February last year.
WorkSafe said WPS Opus was the engineer for the contract and was responsible for contract management, surveillance and quality assurance in relation to the bridge restoration work.
An enforceable undertaking is an agreement between WorkSafe and a party following a breach of the Health and Safety At Work Act.
The agreement details actions that WPS Opus will undertake and is legally binding.
The company has committed to multiple actions, including undertaking a full legal review of its health and safety framework; publishing an external guide to New Zealand's official standard for such work and distributing the guide to a wider audience; publishing an article about the incident and learnings from it in an industry publication; making a donation to the NZ Institute of Safety Management; and providing work experience for Auckland University students to attend health and safety training for two years.
WPS Opus has been approached for comment.
WorkSafe said reasons for accepting the Opus application included that the contravention did not amount to reckless conduct; the terms would provide long-term sustainable health and safety improvements in the workplace, industry and community; and while the workers were exposed to grave risk none were seriously injured.
However WorkSafe noted that a charge was filed and that a successful prosecution may have resulted.
It is the 18th enforceable undertaking WorkSafe has accepted since the Act came into force three years ago.
WorkSafe said the measure should not be viewed as "an easy option".