More should be done to keep shoppers safe in quakes - Countdown

8 June 2017, from Radio NZ

Building regulations aimed at keeping staff and shoppers safe from falling objects in an earthquake are being routinely ignored, a major supermarket chain says.

All 185 Countdown stores, and about 60 franchise stores such as SuperValue are being checked and retrofitted with seismic restraints on heavy items like ducts and air conditioning units.

Countdown national construction manager Simon Scott said 2016 health and safety laws, enacted in response to the Pike River mine disaster, were a game-changer and meant all employers should be taking immediate action to retrofit buildings to keep their staff safe.

When he went looking, he said, he found many of Countdown's stores were not up to standard, even though councils had signed them off as compliant.

"There's a lot of work that's required particularly on older stores.

"It's really come about as a failure on the part of design personnel, contractors, and indeed councils, in the application of what is largely existing [building] code provisions.

"There is plenty of regulation but I think it's a little bit misdirected ... the Code is there, the Code states what is required, but it's not implemented properly."

The Insurance Council and seismic engineers also said most buildings did not comply with standards.

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