Transport Company fined $75,000 over serious injury to employee

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A transport company has been fined $75,000 and ordered to pay costs of $1,980 after a worker was seriously injured in their yard in 2013.

Marley’s Transport pleaded guilty to failing to provide and maintain a safe working environment and, by that failure, causing serious harm to an employee, and was fined in the Perth Magistrates Court.

On January 23, 2013, Marley’s Transport employees were instructed to replace all the tailgate seals on one of the Company’s trailers. The employees had completed the replacement of the seal at the sides and bottom of the tailgate when they were instructed that the tailgate would be lifted up with a forklift to give access to the top seal.

An employee, who did not hold a High Risk Work Licence to drive a forklift, positioned the forklift at the rear of the trailer and proceeded to raise the tailgate by resting it on the forklift tynes.

Another employee was guiding the forklift driver to ensure the tailgate was lifted as required. The forklift began to reverse slowly whilst the tailgate rested on the tynes.

The employee then positioned himself between the tailgate and the rear of the trailer and continued to guide the movement of the forklift. The forklift continued to reverse and the tailgate slipped off the tips of the forklift tynes and struck the employee in the head.

The employee received a fracture at the base of his skull, facial nerve palsy and lacerations to his head.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said today this case should serve as a warning to all employers to provide and maintain a safe working environment for all employees.  

“A person standing under a load held and suspended by a forklift is a commonly known hazard in industry, including the transport industry,” Mr McCulloch said.

“The risks of being hit by a swinging unsupported load are extremely high when undertaking this type of work using a forklift due to operator error or unintentionally moving the raised suspended load.

“Employers should ensure they have undertaken risk assessments, have adequate procedures and staff training in place to carry out the work in a safe manner and that staff are supervised by a person who has also been trained in these methods.

“In this case, the employee suffered serious injuries that could have been prevented if the company had used a different method to open and secure the tailgate.”

Further information

Further information on providing a safe workplace can be obtained by telephoning WorkSafe on 1300 307 8777 or on WorkSafe’s website at www.worksafe.wa.gov.au.

Media contact: Candace Beilby 6251 1930 or 0411 258 721 (media enquiries only) candace.beilby @commerce.wa.gov.au

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WorkSafe
Media release
09 Mar 2016

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