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No charges over Waikari quarry death

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/04/2016

It is hoped the death of the owner of an illegal north Canterbury quarry, crushed by 1000 tonnes of rock, will prompt others to come up to legal standard.

WorkSafe New Zealand says there is nothing to be gained by charging the company of Murray Taylor following his death at Waikari last year.

The 56-year-old was buried in his 65-tonne digger when the sandstone quarry wall he had been working on, and which he had undermined and made unstable, collapsed. The cab was crushed instantly.

"Any workplace death is a tragedy for family, friends and colleagues but hopefully the publicity surrounding Mr Taylor's death will prompt quarry operators to check that their certificates are current and their practices are safe," said WorkSafe chief inspector Keith Stewart.

Mr Taylor was the sole director of his company Heathstock Haulage.

However, he didn't have the qualifications to legally carry out the work and no geotechnical work had been done on the rock wall.

A certificate of competence may not have prevented Mr Taylor's death, Mr Stewart said, but to obtain one he would have had to prove he had the required knowledge and skills which could have been applied to this work.

Mr Taylor's death was one of four quarry deaths around the country and it was revealed around 800 of 1200 quarries could be operating illegally.

WorkSafe was working to establish where all the quarries were.

Quarries were left out of new health and safety rules for high risk workplaces introduced in 2013 following the Pike River coal mine disaster.

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