Father seeking answers to son's workplace death

A young father is the latest New Zealander to die at work - and he joins at least 34 others this year.

Leslie Laing was killed on his first day back at his job at a timber yard, after an assault which forced him to stay home for a month and a half.

But he had only been back a few hours when his father, Doug Laing, got the call no parent wants to get.

"I received a phone call at work, simply couldn't believe it, so I wanted to get confirmation from police, ultimately the confirmation came from Middlemore Hospital."

Doug Laing has lost his only son - and he knows it'll take time for that to sink in.

"I can absolutely bet you I'm going to pick up the phone one week and be in the process of dialling [Leslie's number]."

Worksafe is investigating how the 28-year-old died. All his family know is that he was on foot, and hit by someone driving heavy machinery.

He'd been having difficulty seeing after being knocked out a month earlier, while out to get takeaways, but that had improved. The doctors had cleared him to return to work, on light duties.

"Had he not had that incident, then he might have been driving the machinery - rather than getting in the way of it," his father says.

The doting dad leaves behind his partner, four young children, and another on the way.

He was their hero but Doug Laing says his kindness wasn't just reserved for family.

"If he saw somebody needed to board, in this case it'd be workmates or something - he'd say oh yeah you can come and stay at my place."

The family know it will take time before they'll know exactly what happened.

For now, they're honouring Leslie's life. His tangi is planned for his home-town of Napier on Saturday.