Cold storage giant fined $60,000 for forklift failings


WorkSafe VIC has renewed its call for workplaces to separate people and forklifts, following the prosecution of a national cold storage company after a worker was hit by a forklift.

The March 2008 incident occurred at Swire Cold Storage’s Clayton-based warehouse, when a forklift was driven into the path of a worker operating a pallet mover.

The worker was struck in the left leg by the slip sheet attachment on the forklift, suffering breaks to both bones in his lower left leg above the ankle, and an open wound.

The Moorabbin Magistrates Court convicted Swire Cold Storage Pty Ltd – part of the global Swire Group which includes Cathay Pacific and Swire Pacific – on two charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 last week. The company was fined a total of $60,000.

“The inspector who attended the scene noticed straight away that although there were marked walkways for pedestrians, they weren’t being used,” WorkSafe’s Manufacturing and Logistics Director Ross Pilkington said.

“Forklifts and other mobile plant were actually being driven through the walkways – putting workers and others at risk of serious injury, or even death.”

Following the incident, WorkSafe issued prohibition notices preventing the use of the plant involved in the incident until it was made safe.

The workplace was also required to put a system in place to separate mobile plant from pedestrians and other mobile plant.

“On average, three people are seriously injured by forklifts every week in VIC  workplaces. These injuries are primarily due to being hit by a forklift, or being hit by loads falling from a forklift,” Mr Pilkington said.

WorkSafe VIC Advisory Service
Ph: 1800 136 089

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