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Company Fined After Worker Killed In Trench Collapse

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Oct 13 NZPA - A construction company has been fined and ordered to pay $80,000 after an employees died when a trench collapsed on him.

In Nelson District Court today, Burgess Crowley Civil Ltd -- a New Plymouth-based company with a Nelson branch -- was fined $35,000 and ordered to pay $45,000 in reparations after failing to take all steps to ensure the safety of Shane Cockroft.

Mr Cockroft, a labourer and truck driver, died after an unsupported trench collapsed on top of him at a Nelson subdivision in December last year.

He was acting as spotter during the excavation of a drainage trench when he moved from a shored up trench, to a deep, unsupported trench.

A colleague yelled for him to get out of the unsupported trench but when Mr Cockroft went to move, half a cubic meter of wet clay fell on him. He died at the scene.

The accident happened on a subdivision on land above Atawhai Drive in Nelson.

Department of Labour Nelson manager Annette Baxter said in a statement Mr Cockroft's death should never of happened.

"We hope though that the prosecution will remind companies in the construction sector about the potentially terrible human cost, plus financial costs, of failing to ensure workers are safe," she said.

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