Two forklift cases in Australia – one death and one fine

On 19 October 2009, SafeWorkSA released details of a court case against Macbar Nominees Pty Ltd trading as Southern Cross Trailers .  The company has been fined over $A15,000 due to the incapacitating injury of a worker from a load falling off a forklift.  The event, described below, occurred in July 2007.

“A man aged 38 at the time had been with the firm just two weeks in his job as a labourer. He and two colleagues had been instructed to clean a work area: a job, which involved lifting several large items by forklift.

In the process of this task, a drum that was part of an unsecured load raised aloft by the forklift, fell about two metres onto the man as he moved a second pallet beneath.

He suffered a head wound, which required stitches and a finger injury that required surgery. In a Victim Impact Statement, the court heard that the worker had been unable to resume his work as a labourer as a result of the finger injury.”

A forklift-related incident occurred in Queensland on 5 October 2009 and details of the incident are being reported in the media.  According to Queensland Emergency Services

“Firefighters and paramedics responded to a business on Riverview Road at Dinmore around 10.50pm after a man became trapped under a forklift.  The 18-year-old suffered from crush injuries to his head, neck and chest and was declared deceased at the scene.”

According to media reports, the man had been working at the abattoir for only two months and was not licenced to operate a forklift.  Clearly the management of the site has some very serious questions to answer to the family and the Government.

It is still too early to make more than basic recommendations from this case as the available information is conflicting or not yet released.

  • Licences for driving forklifts or for operating any specialised plant  must be produced and verified, regardless of the size of the site or the complexity of the task.
  • Whether the man was specifically given the task to drive the forklift or whether he was “skylarking”, still raises the issue of supervision.
  • The matter of communication with the family of workplace victims, whether by the Government or the company, is also very relevant.

Kevin Jones

Categories death, forklift, forklift trucks, OHS, safety, Uncategorized, workplace, youngTags , , ,

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