An employee has been fined a total of $5000 (plus $2000 costs) on three charges after she took a forklift for an illegal joyride and injured a visitor to the workplace.
Susann Frances Gidion pleaded guilty to failing to take reasonable care to ensure her own safety at work, failing to take reasonable care to ensure the safety of another person and failing to report an injury and was fined in the Armadale Magistrates Court.
In April 2007, Ms Gidion – an archivist at Genalysis Laboratory Services Pty Ltd in Maddington – was visited by two men at the workplace. One of the men entered the workplace while the other remained in the carpark.
Ms Gidion was not licensed to operate the company’s forklift and had been expressly forbidden by her employer to operate the forklift, which displayed a warning that only licensed operators could use it.
Ms Gidion took the visitor for a joyride on the forklift, and when she turned the machine to the left, the side of the forklift struck a stack of boxes. The visitor, who was riding next to the forklift’s seat, was pinned between it and some racking.
He was taken to hospital by the other visitor, suffering fractured ribs, a broken collarbone and shoulder blade and a punctured lung in the incident.
Ms Gidion did not report the incident to her employer, and the employer only became aware of the incident when the injured man’s mother reported it to Genalysis several days later.
WorkSafe WA Commissioner Nina Lyhne said today that the case provided a reminder that it was not only employers who had responsibility for the safety and health of workers.