Company fined over forklift incident
Auckland – A major freight distribution and logistics company in New Zealand was sentenced following an incident in which a worker was crushed to death by falling pallets that were being moved from a train wagon by forklift in September 2016.
The man was standing beside the forklift. The pallets it was carrying fell and struck the worker as the driver was reversing. The victim died at the scene.
An investigation into the incident found that the company did not identify the risk of a pedestrian being hit by freight falling from forklift tines and that its system relied on administrative controls that were ambiguous and contradictory.
“Administrative controls like rules and procedures are simply not enough, pedestrians need to be segregated from forklift activity,” said WorkSafe Deputy General Manager, Investigations and Specialist Services, Simon Humphries.
Mr. Humphries said that more should be done to protect workers and ensure their safety.
“Fixed barriers to separate people from moving plant don’t work in every workplace, but a temporary barrier and warning signage would have kept the victim outside of the dangerous area and alive.”
The company was fined $506,300. Reparations of $118,020.10 were ordered for emotional harm and consequential loss in addition to payments of $105,000 already provided to the family of the victim. The company was also ordered to pay costs of $6030.