No charges over Canterbury quarry death

No charges over Canterbury quarry death

No charges will be laid over the death of a Canterbury man who was killed on the job at a limestone quarry near Waikari last year.

Murray Taylor was crushed when the quarry face he was working on collapsed in June.

About 1000 tonnes of sandstone rock fell from the quarry wall, burying the 65-tonne Cat excavator Mr Taylor was operating. A WorkSafe NZ investigation determined the rock face had been "undermined and was unstable" as a result of the excavation work.

Mr Taylor was operating the excavator directly under the face of the wall when it collapsed, WorkSafe's chief inspector of investigations Keith Stewart says. The excavator's cab was crushed instantly.

While the investigation concluded the Health and Safety in Employment Act had been breached, it was decided prosecution was not in the public interest as Mr Taylor was the sole director of Heathstock Haulage Ltd, the company in charge of the quarry work.

"Quarry work is inherently risky unless it is done correctly," Mr Stewart says.

"In this case no geotechnical assessment had been carried out to determine the nature of the rock wall. That would have helped identify the safest way to tackle excavation work.

"There was also no evidence procedures were in place to ensure that staff were adequately trained, monitored and supervised."

Mr Taylor did not hold the certificate of competence legally required for the type of quarry work he'd been undertaking.

Mr Stewart says holding the certificate may not have prevented the incident, but to obtain one, Mr Taylor would have had to prove he had the required knowledge and skills for the work undertaken.

"Any workplace death is a tragedy for family, friends and colleagues, but hopefully the publicity surrounding Mr Taylor's death will prompt quarry operators to check that their certificates are current and their practices are safe," Mr Stewart says.

Read More: