An Auckland scaffolding company with multiple previous breaches of safety law has been fined $180,000 for failing to provide its workers with a safe working environment.
Dong Xing Group Ltd was sentenced in the North Shore District Court today for failing to install a safe scaffold, leaving workers exposed to risks including falls, electric shocks and scaffold collapse.
An Auckland City Council building inspector notified WorkSafe of their concerns after visiting the site and a WorkSafe investigation found the site lacked adequate systems for ensuring the health and safety of workers using the scaffolding.
This included unmanaged risk of electric shock from a live 230-volt power line that was at times touching the scaffold, the risk of falling from a height of 4m and the risk of scaffold collapsing as a result of excessive corrosion.
While no one had been injured, the risks posed by the company's conduct were clear breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and departed from well-documented industry standards and guidelines.
Head of WorkSafe's general inspectorate Jo Pugh said the company's disregard for the safety of workers using scaffolding was alarming.
"This was a seriously dodgy set up and it is not the way to do scaffolding. If scaffolding is not maintained and not set up properly, then your workers are walking on a tightrope of risk," Pugh said.
Dong Xing had previously been issued with one infringement notice, eight prohibition notices, and nine improvement notices for health and safety matters on building sites between December 2011 and 12 August 2016.
"This is a company that had been warned, repeatedly, and continued to flout the law," Pugh said.
"It is a reminder to everyone providing scaffolding to ensure their systems are up to scratch and their equipment maintained and fit for purpose."
Dong Xing Group Ltd was imposed a fine of $180,000 and costs of $2333.40 were ordered.
Training orders were also made requiring the defendant to arrange for five workers to undertake a low-level scaffolding course.