Forklift fatality – 20 December 2019

Two maintenance workers were doing electrical work using a forklift and workbox at a manufacturing site in Barooga in the Riverina region. The forklift accidentally lifted the workbox, crushing one worker between the workbox and the underside of the roof. The worker sustained fatal head injuries.

Loading dock where work was done

The investigation

  • SafeWork NSW inspectors responded to the incident.
  • SafeWork NSW commenced an investigation to determine the cause and circumstances of the incident.

Safety information

Businesses are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety in accordance with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017.

Consider ‘reasonably practicable’ control measures when using plant not specifically designed to lift people, such as forklifts fitted with workboxes. Make sure:

  • the workbox is fitted with overhead protection if there is a risk of collision
  • the forklift driver holds a current, valid licence
  • the forklift data plate includes the workbox model number
  • the workbox is securely attached to the forklift, according to manufacturer’s instructions
  • workers are trained to use the workbox safely and follow emergency procedures, so occupants can be rescued if necessary
  • the forklift is on a hard, flat, level surface, with the park brake applied, controls in neutral and the mast is vertical
  • the path is clear of overhead obstructions – do a test lift with an empty workbox
  • the forklift driver stays at the controls when someone is in the workbox
  • workers wear a safety harness in the workbox, if there is a risk of falling from a height.

Further information

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