A construction worker has been seriously injured after a retaining slope broke on a building site in central Auckland.

Icon Construction said a 20-kilogram lump of clay trapped the man's lower body for about 45 minutes on the site of a planned 37-storey hotel development on the corner of Albert St and Wyndham St.

The injured man was lifted onto a stretcher by a crane on the site and was then guided to a waiting ambulance.

The injured man was hoisted to an ambulance by a crane. Photo / Dean Purcell
The injured man was hoisted to an ambulance by a crane. Photo / Dean Purcell

A St John spokeswoman said the man had sustained serious injuries and had been taken to Auckland City Hospital.

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A police spokeswoman said they were called to the workplace incident about 3.20pm and confirmed WorkSafe had been notified.

The man was hit by a piece of clay and is seriously injured. Photo / Dean Purcell
The man was hit by a piece of clay and is seriously injured. Photo / Dean Purcell

Icon Construction, which is building the $200 million tower for Holiday Inn Express and the Even hotel chain, said the man was trapped under a 20kg lump of clay that was dislodged from a support bank by torrential rain over the weekend.

"We have a slope called a batter, it's 2 or 3m high, and some of the material on that batter was dislodged by the heavy rain," said the company's NZ director Dan Ashby.

"One of our subcontractors was going in to clear that material from the bottom of the slope, and another piece of clay dislodged and rolled down the slope and hit his lower body and trapped him under a few kilos of earth."

He said the man was fully conscious, but the company took the precaution of not trying to move him or the lump of clay until paramedics arrived.

He was then lifted out of the site by the crane because the accident occurred two flights of stairs below street level.

"He has been taken to Auckland Hospital and I've had a preliminary assessment that indicates he has some bruising and might have a leg fracture, but that's not confirmed yet," Ashby said.

He said the man was trapped under the lump of clay for perhaps 45 minutes and WorkSafe was on site late this afternoon to assess what happened.

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"Standard procedure when something like that happens is to look after him and keep him warm, and that's what happened," Ashby said.

"We stopped work in the adjacent areas and stood everyone down while we dealt with it, but the site is now back to normal apart from the area that was roped off where WorkSafe is doing their stuff."

He said Icon started work on the site late last year and the hotel project was due to be finished by late 2021.