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January 2020

Worker becomes trapped under toppled forklift

Worker becomes trapped under toppled forklift

WorkSafe Victoria v Wodonga Rendering Pty Ltd (2017)

Facts

Wodonga Rendering Pty Ltd (Company) operated an abattoir that used rendering plant to process raw materials. On the day of the incident, workers were transporting bags of blood meal into a semi-trailer using a forklift with a lifting attachment and an Attollo rotator. This was the first time the Company had performed the transport task this way.

Although the forklift complied with Australian Standards, the Company’s testing process did not include the use of attachments or suspended loads. The forklift toppled over, trapping a worker and seriously injuring another.

Judgment

The Company failed to conduct a risk assessment prior to commencing the task and failed to calculate the working load limit of the mobile plant. The Company also failed to provide information to determine the maximum weight that could be lifted by the forklift with the attachments.

The Company was fined $85,000.

Lessons

This is a clear reminder for companies that compliance with standards is not enough. Risk assessments must be undertaken for each new task and must assess all foreseeable scenarios when using the plant or equipment.

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