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Workers death results in hefty fine

Concrete manufacturing company, Busck Prestressed Concrete Limited, has been
fined $70,000 and ordered to pay reparation of $60,000 after the death of worker
who was run over by a 6.5 tonne telehandler.

Anthony Wells was run over by the telehandler (which was configured as a
forklift) in the front yard of the company’s Christchurch factory in the early
hours of February 25 2013.

He died from his injuries within a few minutes.

After the incident the telehandler was inspected and multiple safety issues
were identified including:

* the headlights, front indicators, brake lights, front hazard lights, horn,
screen washers and front wipers were not working;
* the right wing mirror was missing;

* the vehicle had four different brands of tyres with four different
pressures, all of which were below the manufacturer’s specification
* the overload buzzer was not working;

* at the time of the accident the machine was being driven by a trainee with no
formal qualifications.

Despite the fact that the headlights were not working he
had not turned on the field lights. That meant the only light coming from the
vehicle was from the flashing orange beacon on the roof. In addition, of the
five lights in the yard only one was working and that was facing towards the
building rather than the yard.

Busck Prestressed Concrete was convicted and was sentenced today in the
District Court at Christchurch under the Health and Safety in Employment Act for
failing to take all practicable steps to ensure Mr Wells’ safety at work.

WorkSafe New Zealand’s Chief Investigator Keith Stewart says the telehandler
was simply not in a fit state to be used.

“The catalogue of safety issues identified with the telehandler is completely
unacceptable. This is a 6.5 tonne vehicle used to move heavy concrete railway
sleepers around – it should have been properly maintained to ensure it was safe
to use.

“Busck Prestressed Concrete also failed in its duty to maintain the lighting
to ensure it was safe to work in dark conditions. This accident happened at 5:30
in the morning - if the lights weren’t adequate it should not have had its
workers out in the yard.

“The telehandler driver should also have been given proper training and

“Sadly, given the state of the telehandler and the poor lighting in the
factory yard, Mr Wells’ death was a tragedy waiting to happen. This case serves
as a reminder of the terrible consequences that can result from failing to
ensure plant and equipment are maintained in safe working order,” says Keith


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