A business has been fined more than $67,000 after an employee was seriously injured while being raised on a forklift to close a faulty roller door.
The man, 33, was crushed when he got trapped between the roller door and forklift backrest at Holsten’s Pty Ltd at Hindmarsh in Adelaide in September 2011.
He spent a week in hospital with injuries to his ribs, back, right shoulder, chest, stomach and lungs.
The Industrial Court heard the man was unable to work after the accident.
The family-run business imports and sells florist and wedding products.
The court heard the motorised roller door at the warehouse was faulty and employees sometimes were lifted by a forklift to reach the door when opening and closing it.
The employee operating the forklift on the afternoon of the accident did not have a valid licence and lifted the other worker too high, causing him to be crushed against the door.
The company pleaded guilty to two charges of breaching workplace safety laws by failing to provide and maintain a safe workplace and allowing an employee to do high-risk work.
Industrial Magistrate Michael Ardlie said he accepted the company was remorseful and acted quickly to improve its safety.
“The defendant sincerely regrets the injuries sustained by the employee and unreservedly apologises to the employee for the harm caused,” he said.
“The defendant took steps to ensure that the employee received immediate medical attention on-site and an ambulance was called.
[Company director Richard] Holsten himself attended the hospital with the employee to ensure that he was not alone.”
More info on Forklift Safety Training
In Early 2011, Gary Egberts was operating a forklift in order to unload a truck at the Karratha depot of transport company Star Frieghtlines. As a result of his inadequate training, Egberts accidentally hit a truck driver and ran over his left leg, resulting in a dislocated patella and significant abrasions and bruising.
WorkSafe reported that Egbert did not honk the forklift’s horn while reversing and it lacked a working reverse alarm.
Egberts put forth a guilty plea for failing to take reasonable care to avoid an incident and was fined in the Perth Magistrates Court this week.
Last month, his employer was subject to a $20,000 for failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment.
More info on Forklift Safety
A worker died when he was crushed by a forklift in front of fellow workers at Flemington Markets. Shocked workers said Lilipe Manuoliku Hehea was doing work with a customer when his forklift fell over and trapped him beneath it. He was an employee for a produce wholesaler and was working back and forth between trucks in a hectic loading zone.
Emergency services were called to the scene shortly after the accident but the man had already succumbed to his injuries. One agent who arrived early on the scene said it was a tragic accident. No other workers or vehicles were involved, the man was working on his own prior to the accident.
Some have speculations are that Hehea got distracted or did something unusual to make the forklift turnover. Hehea was a husband and a father. Hehea has worked at the markets for over half a decade. The incident has been described as a “freak accident” that resulted in the death or a respected worker.
WorkCover is currently investigating the incident and have stated that early reports regarding the circumstances of the accident seem to be correct.Police are presently preparing a report for submission to the coroner.Workers in the Flemington market continue to mourn his loss.
Forklift operators may face workplace safety issues and need forklift safety training but they have been listed by an online job board with librarians and piano tuners as the least stressful jobs for 2010. (more…)