27 Jul 2010

School ordered to pay $135,000 over fatal explosion

9:06 pm on 27 July 2010

An Auckland school has been ordered to pay more than $135,000 in reparations after an explosion in its boiler room killed one man and seriously injured another.

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

Contractor Robin Tubman was badly injured and is being treated for serious brain injuries.

The school previously pleaded guilty to failing to do enough to ensure the safety of an employee and failing to prevent harm to a worker.

In the North Shore District Court on Tuesday, the school was ordered to pay $81,100 to Mr Nel's family for emotional harm resulting from his death and expenses.

The college must also pay Mr Tubman $55,729 for emotional harm and expenses.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Nel's wife said losing her partner of more than 30 years was like losing part of her identity.

Orewa College's board says differing standards between government departments need to be resolved to prevent a similar tragedy happening at another school.

Orewa College's board of trustees chairman, Phil Pickford, says the college believed it met Ministry of Education guidelines, but those did not meet Labour Department standards.

He says the school is working with the agencies to clarify the situation.