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April 2021

Racking falls on employee who was acting as a forklift spotter

Racking falls on employee who was acting as a forklift spotter

The case

WorkSafe VIC v Marleyspoon Pty Ltd (2021)

Marleyspoon Pty Ltd is an online food subscription company located in Altona North in Victoria.

On 26 September 2018, racking fell on top of a Marleyspoon employee, injuring his forehead and trapping him underneath.

At the time of the incident, the employee was acting as a spotter standing in front of the forklift tynes, which were loaded with the racking module.

The judgement

Marleyspoon pleaded guilty to breaching section 21(1) and section (2)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) by failing to provide a safe system of work.

The company pleaded that it failed to:

  • provide its employees with safety traffic management plans and site safety rules;
  • dismantle the pallet racking and have it moved by a qualified person rather than its employees; and
  • have its employees keep a distance of 3 metres from any dismantled racking while it was being moved within the warehouse.

Marleyspoon was not convicted and was sentenced to pay a fine of $28,000 with costs, following an $8,000 reduction for entering a guilty plea.

The lessons

Companies that are running businesses that use pallet-racking systems must ensure they enforce safety protocols, and ensure safe working environments to prevent injuries and accidental loss of life. This can be done by engaging a professional to dismantle the warehouse pallet racking or implementing safety guidelines, such as dismantling pallet racking, traffic management and site safety. Communicating these resources to all employees will assist with the working conditions for all involved.

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