WorkSafe stresses health and safety 'top priority' after Auckland construction worker Aidan Paszczuk crushed to death

WorkSafe has highlighted how easily makeshift alternatives can endanger workers.
WorkSafe has highlighted how easily makeshift alternatives can endanger workers. Photo credit: Getty Images

The death of a man crushed by a steel beam while working has prompted WorkSafe to stress the importance of health and safety. 

Aidan Paszczuk, 21, was removing steel beams when one fell and killed him at a Newmarket construction site on Carlton Gore Rd in October 2021. 

In a statement on Tuesday, WorkSafe highlighted how easily makeshift alternatives can endanger workers.

It comes after its investigation found workers devised a way to get the job done when their original method didn't work. Unfortunately, they didn't have access to safety-critical information about the security of the 500-kilogram beam, WorkSafe said.  

When Paszczuck stood on a stack of five wooden forklift pallets to use an angle grinder, the beam fell on him. 

WorkSafe believes the employer Grouting Services Limited (GSL) should have carried out an "effective risk assessment" to protect workers. It has now been sentenced for its health and safety failures.  

"When there is no obvious safe way to work it's best to stop, reassess, and involve experts to develop a new approach - rather than attempting to adapt things on the fly," WorkSafe's area investigation manager Danielle Henry said.  

"Not stopping for a short amount of time to come up with an alternative safer method cost a family their loved one, and affected productivity on a major construction worksite for days and weeks afterwards," Henry stressed. 

"Getting workers home healthy and safe must always be the top priority, especially on fast-moving and dynamic construction sites."  

A separate WorkSafe prosecution against CLL Service and Solutions Limited involved a crane toppling at the same busy Newmarket construction one year prior to Paszczuk's death.

"Sadly, the crane incident was not heeded as the site safety warning that it could have been," Henry said.  

"The risk of serious harm and death in the construction sector is well known, and WorkSafe is committed to ensuring businesses uphold their responsibilities for worker health and safety."