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WorkSafe is urging those that use structures such as mezzanine floors for storage to ensure appropriate controls are in place to prevent falls from height

Risk present
in all work spaces

Businesses need to consider health and safety risks on all structures, even those infrequently used, like mezzanine floors used for storage.

WEB EXCLUSIVE

On 2 June last year, a Rangiora Carpets staff member fell 2.5 m from an unconsented mezzanine floor through a false ceiling to the floor below, leaving the staff member with significant injuries. The mezzanine floor was being used for storage and had not been identified as a health and safety risk.

“Structures such as storage and filing facilities need to be considered for risk and have appropriate controls put in place,” WorkSafe general manager, operations and specialist services, Brett Murray says. “Falls from height always present a significant risk. Even a fall of less than 3 m can result in serious injuries or death. In this case, identifying the need for a barrier to protect workers on the mezzanine floor was imperative to avoiding this incident.”

The WorkSafe investigation found that the company had failed to conduct an adequate risk assessment to identify the risk of a fall from height, and failed to ensure appropriate controls, such as edge protection or a balustrade, were in place to protect workers from the risk of fall onto the false ceiling.

Rangiora Carpets was fined $157,500 and ordered to pay reparations to the victim of $20,000 in the Christchurch District Court in October this year. The company was charged under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 that being a PCBU, it failed to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers while at work, and that failure exposed the workers to a risk of death or serious injury.


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