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Worker killed by 200 kilogram glass sheet

Media Release

25 November 2010

The Department of Labour is reminding employers that they must do all they can to protect their workers after a North Shore employee was killed unloading sheets of glass.

Sharpeye Limited has today been sentenced in the North Shore District court following the incident on 6 April 2010. The company was fined $30,000 and ordered to pay reparation of $60,000.

The court heard that Jinsong Song, 42, who was also one of the Directors of the company, and seven other employees were unloading 11 sheets of glass from a timber cradle inside a container when the accident happened.

As they were removing one of the sheets of glass the rest of the load became unstable and a 200 kilogram sheet fell onto Mr Song, severely cutting his face and neck.

“This was a horrific accident which was entirely avoidable if the proper steps had been in place to manage the heavy loads of glass” says Department of Labour North Shore Service Manager, Zaneta Schumann.

“Unloading individual sheets of glass out of timber cradles inside containers in this way is not a safe way of working. 

“Sharpeye Limited should have made sure that the sheets were packed in a way so a machine like a forklift could be used to unload the glass. If this was not possible then a proper hazard analysis would have identified the risk of the glass sheets falling and steps that could have been taken to prevent this from happening.

“Our investigation also revealed that employees needed to be trained in handling sheets of glass.”

ENDS

Note to Editor

  • Sharpeye Limited was convicted on one charge under Section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.
  • Section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 states: Every employer shall take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees while at work; and in particular shall take all practicable steps to—
    • (a) provide and maintain for employees a safe working environment; and
    • (b) provide and maintain for employees while they are at work facilities for their safety and health; and
    • (c) ensure that plant used by any employee at work is so arranged, designed, made, and maintained that it is safe for the employee to use; and
    • (d) ensure that while at work employees are not exposed to hazards arising out of the arrangement, disposal, manipulation, organisation, processing, storage, transport, working, or use of things—
      • (i) in their place of work; or
      • (ii) near their place of work and under the employer's control; and
    • (e) develop procedures for dealing with emergencies that may arise while employees are at work.

ENDS

Please note that health and safety services, formerly referred to as Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) should now be referred to as the Department of Labour.