Freight company convicted and fined for worker’s death

worksafe vic logoA freight company was convicted and fined over the death of a worker when he was crushed by a computer server which fell from a forklift at its Laverton North Depot.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to provide a safe system of work and was sentenced last week in Melbourne County Court.

The court heard that in January 2010, the victim was fatally injured when the computer server fell on him as it was being unloaded. He was assisting the forklift driver manoeuvre the forklift tines under the server so it could be lifted from the truck. As the forklift lifted and reversed away, the victim remained standing next to the server. It moved and in an attempt to stabilise it, he lunged forward. It fell on him and crushed his chest, causing his death.

Several factors may have contributed to the server unbalancing. The court heard that components inside the server were unevenly distributed, a strong wind was blowing at the time, and forklift was slightly sloping ground.

The court was also told the company failed to enforce an exclusion zone as oversized freight was being unloaded from a truck. The company has no record to prove that the man was told of its safety policy which required all workers to be at least two metres from working forklifts.

WorkSafe’s General Manager of Health and Safety. Lisa Sturzenegger, said forklifts contributed significantly to death and serious injuries.

“Forklifts and people working close by simply don’t mix. A traffic management plan incorporating physical separation of forklifts and people is essential,” said Ms Sturzenegger.



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