Capitol Chilled Foods fined $300,000 after forklift breaks worker’s leg

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Sunday, 19 March, 2023 - 12:45
Incidents & prosecutions
Australian Capital Territory

A dairy manufacturing company owned by Bega was recently fined $300,000 after a delivery driver’s leg was broken in six places when a forklift crashed into him.

In 2022, the company pleaded guilty to charges laid against it for the serious injury of the worker, Matthew Thompson.

In March 2021 Thompson was working as a delivery driver and was unloading from the rear of his van in Griffith when he was struck by a forklift and pinned to the back step of the van.

Capitol Chilled Foods (Australia) Pty Limited were convicted of Category 2 charges with a $300,000 fine imposed by the ACT Industrial Court Magistrate.

WorkSafe ACT Commissioner Agius said the sentencing provides a clear message to all duty holders that they must comply with their work health and safety obligations.

“Our inspectors are focused on ensuring safety for all workers, in all workplaces,” she said. “Serious injuries and incidents are preventable which is why work health and safety practices must be a priority in every workplace, at every time and for every worker.”

Commissioner Agius said it can be traumatic for everyone involved to have to relive the details of incidents in court.

“However, this is a vital step in ensuring duty holders are held to account. What happened to Thompson shouldn’t happen to any worker, any family, any community,” she said.

“Every worker has the right to a safe workplace and the right to return home safely at the end of their shift.”