Company fined after serious forklift injury

A food service wholesaler has been fined $35,000 after a worker was struck by a forklift and seriously injured at a Dandenong South warehouse last year.
News article published

Monday 09 May 2022

Industries and topics
  • Transport, logistics and warehousing
  • Forklifts

C.C.B. Enterprises Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Dandenong Magistrates' Court on Thursday to a single charge of failing to provide a safe working environment, and a single charge of failing to notify WorkSafe immediately after being aware that an incident had occurred.

The company was fined $35,000 without conviction.

In April 2021, the worker was walking across the warehouse floor when a forklift operated by another worker reversed around a corner and struck him, running over his foot and leg.

The injured warehouse assistant was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery to repair a compound fracture of his leg, multiple fractures of his foot, and muscular damage that required a skin graft.

He suffered post-operative infections and has not since returned to work.

The court heard that the company did not have in place a traffic management plan to separate pedestrians and forklifts, and that it was reasonably practicable for the company to have implemented clearly designated exclusion zones, pedestrian walkways and safety barriers.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said duty holders will be held accountable for failing to protect workers from the known risks associated with forklifts.

"It's frustrating that forklift injuries are still so prevalent considering the enormous amount of guidance, information and regulation that occurs," Dr Beer said.

"WorkSafe will continue doing everything it can to protect workers who work with or around forklifts through inspections, investigations and prosecutions."

Employers using mobile plant such as forklifts should ensure:

  • A traffic management plan is in place for pedestrians and powered mobile plant and that it is reviewed and updated as appropriate.
  • Pedestrians are separated from moving machinery and that an effective communication system between operators, transport contractors and ground staff is in place.
  • Signage is in place and barriers are erected where appropriate.
  • Visibility issues are identified and controlled, particularly if lighting is poor.
  • Workers operating equipment have the appropriate high risk work licences, as required.
  • Machinery and vehicles and regularly inspected and maintained by a suitably qualified person.
  • Employees and health and safety representatives are consulted about health and safety issues.