Staff safety in quake on building owners, employers - law firm / by Shaun Evans

 Pipes, fittings and ducting that are not properly restrained could prove deadly in an earthquake. Photo credit: 123rf

Pipes, fittings and ducting that are not properly restrained could prove deadly in an earthquake. Photo credit: 123rf

If people are killed or injured when non-structural parts of a building fall in an earthquake, building owners and employers will be liable, a lawyer says.

A survey of randomly selected high-rises in Auckland and Wellington, released to RNZ last week, showed most failed to meet standards to stop the people inside being hit by falling objects.

It showed that between half and 90 percent of the restraints holding in place non-structural elements - suspended ceilings, partition walls, fire sprinkler systems, air-conditioning, lights and plumbing - were substandard.

Garth Gallaway from Chapman Tripp in Christchurch said the obligation was on the building owner or occupier to take steps to stop people from being harmed in a quake.

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