Affordable Scaffolding (2010) Limited was sentenced at the Auckland District Court following the February 2017 incident involving a scaffold erected under the Panmure Bridge in Auckland. Reparations of US$8,000 were also ordered.

In October 2018, WorkSafe accepted an ‘enforceable undertaking’ from Opus International Consultants Limited and Topcoat Specialist Coatings Limited in relation to the same incident (link opens in new tab). Opus was responsible for providing consultancy services and Topcoat for restoration work.

The scaffold collapsed while seven workers were carrying out maintenance work on the bridge. Six of the workers fell into the water and one was trapped on the scaffolding. No-one was seriously injured.

An investigation by the government’s health and safety body WorkSafe found that overloading led to the collapse. It found that Affordable Scaffolding (2010) Limited failed to ensure that scaffolding was designed safely and that load calculations and design drawings had not been reviewed by an engineer prior to the scaffold being built.

WorkSafe’s head of specialist interventions Simon Humphries said that the incident could have had catastrophic consequences and that it is extremely fortunate that all seven workers escaped without serious injuries. “This incident highlights the requirement for every scaffolding company to ensure structural design, engineering review and adherence to standards and guidance material,” he said. “The workers on this, and every scaffold project, have a right to expect that their employers are doing everything required to keep them safe while they’re at work.”