New Zealand Law Society - WorkSafe accepts enforceable undertaking from Opus

WorkSafe accepts enforceable undertaking from Opus

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WorkSafe says it has accepted an enforceable undertaking from Opus International Consultants Ltd (trading as WSP Opus).

The enforceable undertaking was granted following an incident on 21 February 2017, when scaffolding collapsed underneath Auckland’s Panmure Bridge and six workers fell into the water below them. Although one worker was trapped on the scaffolding, all escaped the scene without serious injury.

WSP Opus was the engineer to the contract for the maintenance work on the bridge. Their responsibilities included contract management, surveillance, and quality assurance in relation to the bridge restoration works.

WorkSafe says its investigation into the incident found that WSP Opus had failed to ensure the health and safety of workers whose activities in carrying out work were influenced or directed by WSP Opus.

"This included failing to notify the contractor that it required information about the scaffold load calculations and design drawings, and failing to halt work on the site until this had been adequately provided."

Under the enforceable undertaking, WSP Opus committed to initiatives including:

  • Develop a practice guide and provide training for its employees on the guide.
  • Undertake a full legal review of WSP Opus health and safety framework.
  • Publish an external guide on NZS 3910 (New Zealand’s official standard for the conditions of contract for building and civil engineering construction) and disseminate this guide to a wider audience.
  • Publish an external article about the incident and what WSP Opus has learnt in an industry publication.
  • Make a donation to the New Zealand Institute of Safety Management.
  • Provide work experience for students from Auckland University to attend training on health and safety and the 3910 contract, for two years.