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Company fined over lines worker fall

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 31/05/2016
File. © Getty Images File.

A Dunedin electricity distributor has been ordered to cough up more than $80,000 after a worker fell six metres from a live power line.

Delta Utility Services had earlier pleaded guilty and was sentenced in Queenstown District Court on Tuesday under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

The court found it failed to take all practicable steps to ensure the worker was not exposed to the hazard of low-voltage electricity at work.

In November 2015, the worker did not disconnect the power supply before working on a line in Cardrona, a WorkSafe investigation found.

He was using a crescent spanner and made contact with the line, which caused a low-voltage arc and he fell six metres to the ground.

The man suffered compound left leg fractures and a fractured lumbar vertebra, and is still unfit for work.

"Delta should have had an effective policy in place that required the worker to eliminate the risk of such an incident," said WorkSafe Chief Inspector Keith Stewart.

"In this case, that would have meant disconnecting the power completely at the road."

None of Delta's written policies specifically required elimination, or any explanation of how the hazard could have been eliminated, he said.

Delta was fined $35,000 and ordered to pay $49,600 reparation.

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