An employer has been fined more than $200,000 after one of its workers had seven fingers amputated in a forklift accident.
PT Supplies Group was fined $220,000 over the February 2018 incident, and was fined an additional $20,000 for failing to notify Western Australia’s safety regulator in a timely manner.
A 19-year-old employee was working at the company’s Banjup property when he was using a forklift to move pallets of bricks during clean-up work. The teenager noticed the forklift’s chains had become slack, and grabbed them in an attempt to place them back on the chain wheel. The chains then tensioned, trapping the worker’s hand. A co-worker called emergency services, and firefighters eventually released the young man. The incident resulted in the amputation of seven of the 19-year-old’s fingers; thankfully two were able to be reattached, but they are now severely restricted.
It’s since been discovered the man’s employer had asked him to operate the forklift despite not holding a high-risk work licence. Safe work and forklift training had also not been offered or undertaken by the victim, or any other employees of the company. Additionally, WorkSafe WA didn’t receive notification of the incident until more than a month later.
How can forklift accidents be avoided?
There are a few things that can be done to help reduce the risk of forklift injuries occurring at your workplace:
Follow the risk assessment process - this will help to identify any hazards with a forklift that may cause injury to your workers.
Conduct daily pre-starts - this will help to identify any issues or faults that may have arisen on the forklift in the past 24 hours of operation.
Conduct regular servicing and maintenance based on the original equipment manufacturer’s guidelines - schedule regular services and maintenance for your forklift to reduce the likelihood of machine components failing, such as the chains becoming loose.
Ensure your workers have appropriate licensing - don’t allow staff or contractors without high-risk work licences to operate your machinery, as they may not have a full understanding of safe operation or how to reduce the risk of incidents occurring.
Have safe operating procedures (SOPs) on hand - make sure all workers and contractors have easy access to SOPs for any machinery they may be using.
Consider the environment the forklift is being used in - the environment the forklift is being operated in can affect how it is used and hazards that may be present. For example, the structures and personnel movement in a warehouse will be different to those in a yard.
Plant Assessor is here to help
Plant Assessor can help keep your machines in top shape, which could reduce the likelihood of injuries occurring on your site. This industry-leading software platform allows you to conduct digital pre-starts and risk assessments to identify hazards, schedule machine servicing and maintenance and access SOPs for hundreds of machine types. It’s your all-in-one platform for machinery compliance and safety. If you would like more information about how Plant Assessor can help you, please contact our friendly team on 1300 728 852 or email email@example.com.
Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information.