29 Jan 2013

Powerline worker complained of lax safety before death

6:34 pm on 29 January 2013

A powerline repairman complained to his wife about a lax attitude to safety at his workplace in the months before he died.

The Coroner is recommending changes to work practices at the Dunedin City Council-owned company Delta Utility Services after employee Roger Steel died while working alone in 2010.

Karyn Steel says her husband had worked at his job for 45-years and had become concerned recently about a lax attitude to safety from middle managers and those working underneath them.

"Roger had told me that for a long time that things had got very lackadaisical and I used to say to him, 'Well, you just go to work, do your job, don't worry about anybody else'. But what other people have done is actually killed him."

Mrs Steel says her husband's former boss has told her that the accident would never have happened in his day when stricter safety standards were enforced.

Delta was fined $75,000 for failing to ensure Roger Steel's safety and neglecting to include the fact the power pole was unsafe on the job sheet handed to him when he was assigned the work.

Chief executive Grady Cameron says changes have been made to ensure that an accident does not happen again.