Fletcher Construction failings revealed following worker injury

An investigation into Fletcher Construction has revealed the company failed to ensure the health and safety of a worker following an incident involving the collapse of a temporary retaining wall.

The worker was injured in May 2016, when he was working in a 2m deep hole where temporary concrete blocks were being used as a retaining wall.

Water was being pumped out of the hole following heavy rainfall, however, the concrete blocks shifted and the man became caught under the falling blocks.

The man sustained multiple fractures to his lower right leg and required eight months off work as a result.

Worksafe New Zealand accepted an enforceable undertaking from Fletcher Construction, which was confirmed by the victim, as an alternative to prosecution.

Simon Humphries, Worksafe deputy general manager, investigations and specialist services, said the decision to accept the enforceable undertaking was appropriate given the circumstances.

“This is not an opportunity for Fletcher Construction to escape their corporate responsibility for the health and safety of a worker. It’s a legally binding agreement that requires them to complete a number of commitments, which will benefit health and safety in the wider construction industry. WorkSafe has a dedicated team monitoring compliance with the enforceable undertaking and ensuring that Fletcher follow through on their promises.”

Michele Kernahan, chief executive of Fletcher Construction, said the incident was deeply regrettable and disappointing that the company let the victim down by not fully recognising the risks on that particular site.

“We deeply regret this incident occurred and that a worker on one of our sites was harmed,” she said.

“Everyone deserves to go home safe at the end of the day and it is disappointing that we let this person down by not fully recognising the risks in the works on that site, in that environment.”