FRUIT AND VEG WHOLESALER COPS $50K FORKLIFT FINE

A fruit and vegetable wholesaler has been fined $50,000 after a worker got hit by falling bins from a forklift at their Breakwater warehouse.

The worker was washing a truck when the bins fell, causing fractures to his spine.

Geelong Citrus Packers pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to provide or maintain safe systems of work after failing to put in place a traffic management plan separating work areas from forklift zones nor instructing workers about the risks.

Inspectors later found more issues including forklifts left unattended with keys in them and safety belts not being used.

WorkSafe subsequently emphasised that employers using mobile plant such as forklifts must ensure:

  • A traffic management plan is in place
  • Pedestrians are separated from moving machinery
  • effective communication between operators and ground staff is in place
  • loads are properly placed and secured
  • Signage is in place and barriers erected where appropriate
  • Visibility issues are identified and controlled, particularly if lighting is poor
  • operators have the appropriate high risk work licences
  • vehicles are regularly inspected by a suitably qualified person.
  • HSRs are consulted about health and safety issues
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