In August last year, three companies in the Bay of Plenty were fined a total of almost $120,000 dollars and ordered to pay combined reparation of $20,000 after a woman was struck by a reversing forklift at a pack house at Mount Maunganui.
She had been straightening rows of boxes in an area of the pack house designated for the assembly of packaging trays when a forklift reversed into her.
The company that supplied the kiwifruit trays were all convicted under the Health and Safety in Employment Act of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that she was not harmed at work.
WorkSafe New Zealand’s chief investigator Keith Stewart says the companies failed to put in place proper workplace rules to manage the risk posed by forklifts to workers on foot.
“This incident could have been easily avoided if a barrier had been put in place to prevent the forklift from moving into the tray makers’ area.
“Without proper barriers or some form of isolation an accident such as this was sadly predictable. All three companies should have done more to ensure that forklifts were kept well away from the area the woman was working in,” says Keith Stewart.
Then, in March, Wellington saw its second fatal industrial accident within a week after a man was killed in a forklift accident at a food company.
Whilst employees may confidently perform the same tasks numerous times a day, there is still the risk and danger of unexpected forklift accidents that every company must plan to avoid.
Uncontrolled or unmarked access ways, walkways and Loading Docks are the most common areas where forklift accidents occur. See our Safety & Protection Product range, highlighting the products that can help protect your building, personnel and products from costly damage.
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