Company fined $60,000 over lifter incident
A company has been fined $60,000 (plus $7673 in costs) over an incident in which a female worker was injured when a lifting device fell onto her from the rear of a truck.
National Fleet Administrative Services Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment for a person not being an employee of National Fleet Administrative Services and, by that failure, causing serious harm to the person, and was fined in the Perth Magistrates Court on February 14.
National Fleet Administrative Services employs and contracts drivers who transport goods. In May 2009, a driver employed by National Fleet Administrative Services was carrying out his normal activities of transporting mattresses when he was directed to another customer’s premises to transport two industrial ovens.
An employee of the customer used a lifting device known as a “walkie stacker” to lift the first of the ovens off the factory floor and move it onto the tail lift of the truck. The driver told the customer’s employee to put both the walkie stacker and the oven onto the tail lift.
Once the tail lift had been elevated to the desired height, the customer’s employee started to move the walkie stacker into the rear of the truck. During this process, the walkie stacker began to roll backwards and subsequently fell off the rear of the tail lift.
The customer’s employee was struck by the walkie stacker as it fell, and it pinned her to the ground. As a result, she suffered a fractured skull, broken ribs and serious spinal injuries.
The tail lift of the truck did have roll stop devices fitted, but the driver had not received any training in their use, or in the proper use of the tail lift. He had never used roll stop devices before, and had never placed a walkie stacker on a tail lift.
WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said today the case highlighted the importance of proper training and strict safe systems of work.
“The court heard that the truck driver had not been trained in the use of either the tail lift or the roll stop devices,” Mr McCulloch said. “This turned out to be a recipe for disaster, and the customer’s employee needlessly suffered serious injuries as a result.
“The case should serve as a reminder to employers of the importance of training workers in all aspects of operating machinery and having safe systems of work in place at all times, especially when handling heavy items.”
Further information on safe systems of work and training can be obtained by telephoning WorkSafe on 1300 307877 or on the website at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/WorkSafe/.
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