At the risk of increasing a young person’s infamy, SafetyAtWorkBlog draws your attention to a (former) YouTube video of a young forklift driver misusing a forklift.
According to a WorkSafe media release:
Dangerous forklift driving has cost a young worker his job, his forklift licence and earned him 50 hours of community work and an order to do a 5-day health and safety course.
WorkSafe today prosecuted 20-year-old Seymour man, Matthew Garry Ward, after posting on YouTube a video of him doing stunts on a forklift.
The video, which has now been removed, showed him deliberately crashing into concrete pipes, doing burnouts and overloading the machine so he could do wheelies.
Seymour Magistrate Caitlin English convicted Mr Ward, ordered him to do 50 hours of unpaid community work complete a five-day Occupational Health and Safety course and pay WorkSafe’s court costs of $1200.
Mr Ward was also sacked for misconduct.
Forklifts are possibly the most dangerous piece of equipment on worksites. Statistics show a high frequency of death and injury associated with their use.
Before phone cameras and YouTube this type of workplace behaviour would never have received the attention that this case has. The worker may have been sacked for being “bloody stupid” but there would not be the notoriety that can come from this type of act. The Ward case has appeared on several television broadcasts, is in the papers and is mentioned in blogs like this.
The worker’s actions only came to light when his employer at Australasian Pipeline and Pre-Cast Pty Ltd, which produces reinforced concrete pipes at nearby Kilmore, viewed the video. If Ward did not have a vigilant internet-savvy boss, it is likely the video would still exist on YouTube and the worker would not have come to the attention of the OHS regulator.
The Ward prosecution came at an opportune time for WorkSafe to re-emphasise their young worker safety campaign in the context of their long-active forklift safety program.
The Ward case indicates the choices young people make between potential internet fame and personal trouble. There are many examples of this risk management decision in a range of areas related to the internet. Matthew Ward made the wrong decision, or he just took things that little bit too far. At least he is facing the consequences of his decision.