News story

Accident highlights safety issues

Thursday, 2 August 2012 ( #576 ) - Auckland, New Zealand
An Auckland-based forklift supplier was fined NZ$44,600 last week after a worker was trapped under a forklift and killed in September last year. The Auckland District Court heard that an employee of Fowlers Machinery, which hires, sells and repairs forklifts, had been working underneath a 239 T forklift, repairing its left front brake, when the accident happened. "During the repair, the forklift dropped, trapping the worker underneath. Tragically, he died of asphyxia at the scene," says northern region health and safety manager for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) John Howard. "This tragic accident serves as a warning for all employers and their employees tasked with carrying out hazardous work. There is simply no room for complacency," he says. "It was this employee's right to return home safe and well to his loved ones at the end of the working day. And this would have been possible if Fowlers Machinery had in place safe operating procedures for lifting and supporting forklifts, and ensured all workers were trained to follow these. "A safety first attitude and culture would have prevented this unnecessary fatality. It would have ensured the company used the correct equipment for the job, including appropriate support blocks, wheel chocks, and blocks or chains for securing the elevated mast."