Prosecution Corner - WorkSafe

20 Aug 2016

A WorkSafe NZ Case:

An NZ haulage company was found guilty for failing to ensure the safety of an employee when a forklift dropped a load onto the head of a worker leaving them concussed and with multiple fractures to their face. The company was fined $33,750 and paid the victim an additional $5000.

What went wrong:

The worker was preparing to transport a container on a truck which involved removing the headboard from the front of the trailer.  He sought assistance from a fellow worker who was operating the forklift nearby. The forklift operator attached a strop to the headboard from the forklifts tine and lifted the headboard.

Because the headboard was not securely attached, it began to rotate. The worker stepped in to try and steady the load. At this point the forklift suffered a mechanical failure and the tines dropped.

As a result the worker was hit in the face and knocked to the ground. He suffered a serious concussion, fractured jawbone and seven broken facial bones requiring three titanium plates.

Lessons learnt:

  1. Ensure that you have documented procedures for using forklifts and for jobs such as removing the headboard from a truck.
  2. Ensure workers are seperated from forklifts when they are in use.
  3. Ensure that forklift operators do not allow anyone under the tines.