News Article

latest news in employment law

WorkSafe NZ Prohibiton Notices

Published 01 Jul 2015

WorkSafe inspectors issue prohibition notices if they believe there is a likelihood of serious harm to any person.

On 14 March 2014 a WorkSafe inspector visited a worksite after being notified by the Auckland Environmental Health team that the worksite had tested positive for asbestos. The builder was at the worksite when the prohibition notice was issued, where it was explained to him that no more work could continue. He was advised of this on two more occasions In this case, the worksite had tested positive for asbestos.

The prohibition notice was clearly visible. It was attached to a fence around the worksite and stated that no further work could continue until the notice was lifted by an inspector.

Later the builder went back to the worksite with a contractor who removed a wooden ramp from the site. A neighbour advised WorkSafe of this. Subsequently when the inspector spoke to the builder he replied that “I was just removing stuff from the site so it would not get wet.”
Worksafe then brought a prosecution, and the builder was convicted and fined $25,000 on Tuesday at the Auckland District Court under section 43 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act. The builder had ignored a prohibition notice issued after asbestos was found at the worksite.

The Judge was clear that removing the ramp required physical exertion by the contractor and the transportation of the ramp was a necessary part of the contractor’s work. The Judge was satisfied that the removal of the ramp constituted work and was in contravention of the prohibition notice.