26 Apr 2010

School admits part in fatal boiler room explosion

4:19 pm on 26 April 2010

An Auckland school has pleaded guilty to two charges relating an explosion in a boiler room which killed its caretaker.

Richard Louis Nel, 59, died in hospital after the blast at Orewa College in June last year.

A contractor who was seriously injured in the explosion is still recovering from his injuries and has not yet returned to work.

The Department of Labour laid two charges against the school's Board of Trustees under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

The school has now pleaded guilty in North Shore District Court to failing to do enough to ensure the safety of an employee and failing to prevent harm to a contract worker.

The board of trustees originally said it would vigorously defend the charges

Board chairman Phil Pickford will not say why the board changed its position and says he will not comment until after sentencing in July.