Foolish forklifters fired and fined

News Story
- 15 Sep 2011 ( #531 ) - Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
2 min read
Planking across the tynes of a forklift about four metres above the ground cost him his job.
Planking across the tynes of a forklift about four metres above the ground cost him his job.
It may seem a bit of a lark, but two forklift drivers who joined in the planking fad in Australia a few months ago not only lost their jobs but were also prosecuted and fined.

Stewart John Kift, 49, and Cameron Denbesten, 28, were each fined $1,500 last week after pleading guilty to charges laid under the Occupational Health and Safety Act in the Ringwood Magistrates Court.

The prosecution said both accused were experienced and qualified forklift drivers, who should have appreciated the risks associated with their actions.

Kift was photographed by Denbesten about four metres off the ground on top of a spray booth at his employer's Bayswater business in May. Denbesten was photographed by Kift planking across the tynes of a forklift about four metres above the ground.

Owling is the latest fad hitting workplaces.
Owling is the latest fad hitting workplaces.
Both men lost their jobs as a result of the incident which they'd posted on Facebook.

WorkSafe prosecutor Patrick McQuillan told the court workplaces were not playgrounds, forklifts were not toys and that over the past five years, 7,000 Victorian workplace injuries caused by falls from height had cost $200million in treatment and rehabilitation costs.

WorkSafe Victoria media manager Michael Birt tells Forkliftaction.com News that even though no-one was hurt physically in the recent planking incident, the matter should send a strong message about the need to behave "so as not to put yourself or others at risk".

"There are consequences for yourself and while some have said (the penalties are) a 'bit tough', there may well have been a different outcome should anyone have been hurt. Safety is about everyone in the workplace."

While planking has faded out, people are now involved in other dangerous behaviour such as "owling" and "Batmanning", both involving stunts at heights.

Birt says both fads are potentially dangerous and capable of leading to serious injuries and workers compensation claims which will affect the individual and their employer through increased claims and legal costs.

While it's hard to know if fooling around in the workplace is on the increase, WorkSafe recently prosecuted a man for shooting a nailgun at a colleague, blinding him in one eye.

Birt says the worst incident involving a forklift was in 2008 when a young worker was prosecuted for doing burnouts on a forklift. He, too, lost his job.
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