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VIC: company fined $35,000 after serious forklift injury

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.
Date: 
Thursday, 19 May, 2022 - 12:15
Category: 
Incidents & prosecutions
Location: 
Victoria

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

C.C.B. Enterprises recently pleaded guilty in the Dandenong Magistrates’ Court 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 the 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 Victoria 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,” Beer said.

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