Vinci subsidiary fined after worker fell 30m from falling transmission tower

27 November 2018 | By GCR Staff 0 Comments

A court in New Zealand has fined Vinci subsidiary Electrix Limited US$225,669 (NZ$332,060) after a construction worker fell 30m from a toppling temporary transmission tower.

According to The New Zealand Herald, the man in his 20s ended up on the ground wrapped in power lines after the fall in August 2016, and was taken to hospital in a serious condition.

“This worker was lucky to escape this incident with his life”– Simon Humphries, WorkSafe

WorkSafe, New Zealand’s state health and safety regulator, said its investigation found that Electrix failed to implement a safe system of work, or to ensure the tower was erected in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions, or to ensure the competency of its workers on the towers.

Acquired by Vinci Energies in 2014, Electrix was sentenced at Hamilton District Court (pictured) under New Zealand’s 2015 Safety at Work Act. The fine could have been higher, with the maximum penalty totalling just over US$1m (NZ$1,500,000).

Hamilton District Court (New Zealand Justice Department)

The temporary tower was built as part of the Waikato Expressway development on New Zealand’s north island.

Simon Humphries, WorkSafe’s head of specialist interventions, said: “The fact that tower fell in the first place is completely unacceptable.

“If you are expecting your workers to carry out their duties 30m in the air, then as an employer you need to have absolute and failsafe measures in place to keep those workers safe.

“This worker was lucky to escape this incident with his life but will carry the injuries and trauma sustained in the incident with him for the rest of his life.”

On its website Electrix commits itself to “no compromises with safety”, adding: “Electrix New Zealand consistently achieves tertiary (top) level member status of the NZ Accident Compensation Corporation's (ACC) Partnership Programme.”