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The Federal Court fined Visy approximately $47,850 for two breaches of the act, and imposed another $4,620 on its operations manager Robin Street. The incident in question occurred at the Visty Coburg factory in August 2011.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union brought legal action against the company on behalf of Visy machine setter Jonathan Zwart — also a health and safety rep.
Justice Bernard Murphy took Zwart’s evidence as proof there was “an immediate risk to occupational health and safety” when it was discovered the forklift’s reversing beeper was not working.
Murphy accepted Zwart’s claims that he tagged forklifts that were not to be used, instead of the temporary measured proposed by his supervisors.
He found that Visy was wrong to subsequently investigate Zwart, suspend him from work and issue him with a written warning.
The judge said operating forklifts near other people was “inherently dangerous” – and that “Visy should have understood this”.
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