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News headings from LabourStart


Forklift fatalities

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An employer who failed to provide a forklift without blind spots has been hit with a significant fine following the death of a truck driver.

Oakville Produce Pty Ltd was convicted and fined $187,500 for breaches of NSW workplace safety laws.

The District Court heard that, a truck driver and a harvest supervisor were discussing work arrangements at an Oakville potato farm when a forklift operator, who had just lifted two bins off the truck, reversed into them.

The supervisor wasn’t injured but the truck driver died.

The Court found the forklift had a blind spot when reversing, and Oakville didn’t have an effective traffic management plan.

After the employer was fined, SafeWork NSW executive director Peter Dunphy warned that forklifts were a major cause of workplace injuries and deaths.

“Between July 2012 and July 2014, 1360 [NSW] workers were injured in forklift incidents, including five fatalities, at a cost of $15.8 million to the NSW workers’ compensation scheme,” he said.

The “best way” to control the inherent dangers “is to separate pedestrians and forklifts with barriers and have a traffic management plan with rules about how and where vehicles should be operated”, Dunphy said.

“In this particular incident, Oakville Produce did not have a traffic management plan for the loading and unloading of forklifts in bin bay areas,” he said.

“[It] also failed to provide a forklift without blind spots or sufficient mirrors that addressed blind spots.”