A security guard who was knocked unconscious when he tumbled into a hole while patrolling an Exclusive Brethren church property is angry nobody has ever been held accountable.
Gary Martinsen was hospitalised after falling into the hole and quit his job. He claims nobody from the South Auckland church bothered to check if he was okay - and criticised WorkSafe for not pursuing a prosecution.
The church has disputed many of Martinsen's claims, including the depth of the hole and suggestions they weren't concerned about his welfare.
They also say they cooperated fully with the WorkSafe investigation.
Martinsen, then 58, worked for a security firm contracted to patrol the Papakura Gospel Hall on Park Estate Rd.
About 9pm on May 19, 2018, he walked around the back of the church building. Security lights were out and Martinsen was in the dark when he tumbled into a freshly dug 1.5m-deep pit, according to WorkSafe documents.
"There was no tape, no warning sign, no mesh, no cones - nothing," he told the Herald.
With radio silence from Martinsen, his worried manager sent another patroller, who found the guard unconscious in the bottom of the hole and called 111, according to documents viewed by the Herald.
Ambulance officers got Martinsen out and took him to Middlemore Hospital. The security company's owners arrived just after St John, took photos and rang WorkSafe.
Martinsen suffered serious facial bruising, abrasions and a twisted knee, and lay unconscious for at least half an hour, according to WorkSafe documents.
After six X-rays and a CT scan, Martinsen said he was told he was lucky he didn't snap his neck and die. He was discharged from Middlemore the next morning with a note to rest for three days.
But when he tried to go back to work he said he found the pain too much. Reluctantly, he quit the job he loved.
He has only been able to fill in the gaps with the help of the security company's owners.
His boss at the time, who asked not to be named, told the Herald she felt the hole was a hazard that had not been safely marked off on the night Martinsen fell in.
When she visited the site the next morning, barriers had been erected around the hole, she said.
Church trustee David Stanners said a volunteer dug the hole while trying to find a pipe leak. He believed the hole had been 800mm, the same depth as the pipe.
The volunteer thought the area - behind locked gates - was secure, Stanners said.
"The volunteer had no knowledge that there [were] security guards visiting the property at night, let alone why they would go into this area when it isn't normally used."
Stanners said one of the congregation had phoned the security company the next day to check if Martinsen was okay.
"They were told that the guard was about to be discharged from hospital and [was] just a bit sore."
Over a year later, Martinsen said he still hadn't recovered. He now worked "hobbling around" in a warehouse, and said he would need a chiropractor for the rest of his life.
"I've got a pain in my bum, which is embarrassing. And my shoulder is pretty buggered, I'm doing strengthening exercises so it doesn't get worse. And my neck took a hell of a beating."
Mentally, he was still traumatised, he said.
His former boss confirmed the accident had taken a toll on Martinsen. His resignation was a shame as she had been training him up for a management position, she said.
She was surprised WorkSafe had not taken the case further.
The agency closed its investigation in May last year, saying Martinsen's injuries were not serious enough to meet its threshold.
A WorkSafe spokesperson told Martinsen it only investigated matters "where the seriousness of the harm results in a permanent life-changing injury, for example an amputation of a limb such as an arm or a leg".
The agency told the Herald it may choose to intervene "if we see sustained patterns of harm occurring".
"Usually this is in sectors whose work exposes workers to higher rates of injury and death."
Martinsen was critical of WorkSafe for not investigating the accident more rigorously and believed the Exclusive Brethren were hoping the incident would go away.
"They're not acting like a church. They're uncaring - otherwise they would have provided whatever WorkSafe needed," he said.
But Stanners said the church had answered all WorkSafe's questions and offered for them to visit the site.
The church trustees had reviewed site safety after Martinsen's fall, he said.
"This was an unfortunate workplace incident and we certainly trust the injured guard makes a full recovery."