Date PostedMarch 27, 2013

Freight Company Fined $375,000 After Forklift Fatality

forkliftIn Victoria, a western suburbs freight company has been awarded a $375,000 fine after one of their workers was killed in an accident in their depot.

On January 12th, 2010 the worker died when a computer server that weighed 635 kilos dislodged from a forklift and fell on him, crushing him at a depot in the suburb of North Laverton.

The freight company had entered a plea of guilty on the 3rd December this year to failing to provide a safe system of work was given the fine in the Melbourne County Court.

During the court hearing it was entered that on January 12th 2010 the computer server was being unloaded when it fell on the worker.

At the time he was assisting the forklift driver and helping him to line up the tines of the forklift under the computer server so that it could be unloaded.

When the forklift lifted the computer server and the forklift reversed the worker was still standing next to the server. When it moved he jumped forward in an attempt to stabilize it on the forklift. Instead the server fell from the tines and crushed his chest.

The worker then died at the scene.

During the hearing the court heard that there were a few factors that may have caused the server to unbalance including the fact that the internal components of the server were unbalanced, there was a strong wind present at the time of the unloading and that the forklift was operating on a surface that was slightly sloped.

The company that was the employer had not enforced an exclusion zone around the oversized freight was being unloaded from the delivery truck.

They did have a safety policy that stated all workers needed to be a minimum of two metres away from forklifts while they were operating but had no documentation that showed the worker knew of this policy.

Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning and web strategy firm based in George St Brisbane. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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