Know the Drill: Issue 4 2023


Welcome to issue 4 of Aon Construction’s Know the Drill for 2023. 

In our last issue for 2023, we focus on three topics:
•    Health and Safety case study - companies convicted after worker falls three metres through unguarded void - brought to you by Vero Liability Insurance Limited
•    Health and Safety case study - NZCTU and CHASNZ call for tougher action to protect workers from accelerated silicosis - brought to you by Vero Liability Insurance Limited
•    Construction Contracts and when to contact your Aon broker

Health and Safety case study published in Vero Liability’s March 2023, SafeSide issue 46

Vero Liability took a look at the sentencing of two companies for failing to guard a void on the second floor of a building under construction as well as alerting building owners and property managers to WorkSafe’s recent safety alert on ensuring anchorages for rope access systems are re-certified and competently maintained.


Companies convicted after worker falls three metres through unguarded void

Both a construction company and a property development company have been prosecuted after a worker sustained serious spinal injuries when he fell three metres through an unguarded second floor void. The victim’s injuries caused paralysis. He can no longer work as a builder and requires a wheelchair to move.

At sentencing, the construction company and employer of the victim was fined $258,918.92 and ordered to pay reparations of $61,464.20. A fine of $175,000 was imposed on the property development company and reparations of $46,386.20 ordered. WorkSafe noted that the construction company had a “worrying history around protecting its workers” and had been issued seven prohibition notices, two sustained compliance letters, one directive letter, and two improvement notices since 2017. 

Fall from height remains a significant cause of death for workers in Aotearoa New Zealand. From February 2022 to January 2023, 14 people lost their lives in work related falls. Six of these fatalities were in the construction industry. 

WorkSafe has extensive guidance on working safely at height. The controls that can be taken to minimise the risks of many falls are well known and relatively inexpensive. All PCBUs with the ability to influence or control fall from height risks should work together to ensure workers go home safely.

To subscribe to the Vero Liability “The Safe Side” newsletter, click here.


Health and Safety case study published in Vero Liability’s March 2023, SafeSide issue 46

Vero Liability took a look at the accelerated silicosis has emerged as a significant threat to worker health in recent years.


NZCTU and CHASNZ call for tougher action to protect workers from accelerated silicosis

Accelerated silicosis has emerged as a significant threat to worker health in recent years.  It is an aggressive form of lung disease caused by exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust (RCS) and is irreversible and progressive.  The only treatment for the advanced disease is lung transplant.  It especially affects those who work with the engineered stone that is often used in benchtops.  

Workers may be exposed to RCS while cutting, grinding, sanding and polishing.  Radio New Zealand reports that as at the end of February 2023, 140 claims for accelerated silicosis have been lodged with ACC for assessment.  

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU) and Construction Health and Safety New Zealand (CHASNZ) have recently called for tougher action from Government and industry to eliminate the harm from working with engineered stone and protect workers exposed to RCS.  The NZCTU says that warnings from WorkSafe have not resulted in improvement and there is a need for strong and swift regulatory action to properly protect workers, including moving towards a ban on the material, as Australia is currently doing.  CHASNZ has reinforced this stance.  Its Chief Executive says: “CHASNZ’s view is that stronger measures are urgently required…” These may include banning the material or controlling it through strict licensing.

We wrote about accelerated silicosis and WorkSafe’s response to it in Issues 9 and 25 of The Safe Side. There is also a wealth of material on WorkSafe’s website about safety in the engineered stone industry and the wider Government Agencies’ response.  In light of the increasing attention on accelerated silicosis, we would not be surprised to see a tougher stance on enforcement from WorkSafe.  

To subscribe to the Vero Liability “The Safe Side” newsletter, click here.

Construction Contracts and when to contact your Aon broker

After extensive review, New Zealand’s standard contract for the construction of building and civil engineering projects (NZS 3910) has been released for consultation. 

With these revision considerations, it provides a timely reminder to reach out to your Aon broker at the time of contract negotiation (on any form) for their review and comments.  

Times when you should reach out include:

  • When the contract value exceeds your annual contract works limit.
  • Where you are completing non-standard work outside of your business-as-usual contracts i.e. a residential builder completing a large warehouse.
  • When you have a tender draft construction contract for review, particularly if there are changes to the General Conditions insurance clauses via Schedule 2, or there is an existing structure involved in the contract works. 
  • You are unsure if the allowances (percentages or value) under a) to e) in 8.3.3 are adequate based on the contract works – of importance is e), as it deals with inflation.
  • You are the Contractor and have obtained a copy of any Principal provided Contract Works insurance policy to ensure it is reflective of what we would expect and to raise concerns, if any.

If you have any questions about the above or would like to talk to an Aon Construction broker please reach out to us at

Get to know Aon Construction

Aon’s specialist Construction practice is second to none in New Zealand - both in terms of experience and size. Get to know some of the team here:

Brent Michie | Executive Director
Brent has been involved in the insurance industry since 1984 and has been specialising in the insurance of construction programmes since 1999.

He has been on both sides of the insurance fence; as an Insurance underwriter (QBE Contract Works Product Manager) and an Insurance broker.

Having been involved in a varied range of projects from the renovation of the CPO in Auckland in to the Auckland Rail Station, major building refits; ANZ building Auckland, large mechanical projects; Milk Powder driers to Civil projects such as the Waterview Tunnels and the Memorial Park underpass in Wellington, he brings a wide range of experience to his clients.

Outside of work, Brent spends all his time being a taxi to his 3 sons, who are all involved in sport (2 games of Rugby on Saturday and Football on Sundays). 

He enjoys standing on the side-line in his wet weather gear quietly yelling.

Shane Smith | Associate Director

Shane has more than 25 years’ insurance experience comprised of 22 years as a broker and five years as an underwriter. Nearly 20 years of this time spent specialising in corporate insurance broking including construction.

Shane has extensive knowledge and expertise in large property, construction, Aviation, Aviation Liability, Commercial Motor & Mobile Plant and additional capabilities in a wide range of fire and general insurance programmes covering various industry segments.

Outside of work Shane and his Wife Sally are busy with their three kids Jackson 15, Liam 13 and the boss Grace who is 11 and miniature schnauzer Gus.  Between family life, coaching the oldest son’s U18 club football team, trying to see the youngest two play some sport as well and seeing if he can fit in some golf off a 12 handicap (and usually playing to a 30).  Shane is also involved in the management and administration of the Taieri Lakes Golf club where he has been a member for almost 30 years.

Jared Bates | Associate Director

Previously a liability underwriter for over ten years, Jared has now joined AON’s construction team, bringing general liability expertise with him, as well as a keen interest in the construction industry.

When not playing football on the weekend, Jared can be found on the side-lines encouraging his boys, chasing his two-year old girl, or once a year when it isn’t raining, exploring the wild west of the Waitakeres.

Jared will soon be moving to Christchurch to engage locally with the construction industry there and is looking forward to exploring confectionery other than jaffas, as well as navigating roads on his motorcycle that are not littered with bumper-to-bumper traffic.

This website contains general information only and does not take into account your individual needs or financial situation. It is important to note that limits, excesses, terms and conditions and exclusions apply to the products and services outlined on this website. Please refer to the relevant policy documents for details of cover, the provision of which is subject to the insurer’s underwriting criteria that apply at the time. Please contact us if you have any questions.