Company director must pay $100,000 in repairs after worker dies in falling roof

A businessman has been convicted in the Manukau District Court for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.  (File photo)

Chris McKeen / Stuff

A businessman has been convicted in the Manukau District Court for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. (File photo)

An Auckland businessman has been ordered to pay $100,000 in damages after a contractor he hired fell from a roof and died.

A Worksafe investigation revealed that there were insufficient safety measures at the site and nothing to prevent the man from falling and dying on a concrete terrace.

The man died while spray painting at a job in Bucklands Beach in June 2020.

He had been hired by Hon Sang Cheuk, who was the sole director of DMJ Painters Limited.

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Worksafe discovered that the scaffolding had not been erected and Cheuk did not check whether the man had used a harness or had been trained to use one.

The company went into liquidation 49 days after the fall, so Cheuk was sued personally for defaulting on his subcontractor and failing to exercise due diligence to ensure his safety.

He was convicted in Manukau District Court on July 27 and ordered to pay $100,000 to the victim’s family.

The judge did not impose a fine because of Cheuck’s financial situation. The maximum penalty for his crimes was a fine not exceeding $300,000.

“Individuals and directors have a range of health and safety responsibilities and winding up your business does not absolve you of that,” said Danielle Henry, WorkSafe Zone Investigations Manager.

“Some form of edge protection should have been in place as basic protection. It was easily foreseeable that a fall could occur, resulting in serious injury or death.

“The victim of this fall leaves behind a wife and son, whose lives are forever changed by a simple failure to put safety first,” Henry said.