A Regent’s Park importer of gravestones has been fined $90,000 after a worker suffered multiple fractures to his foot when it was run over by an unlicensed forklift operator in December 2014.

The 65 year old worker was helping unpack granite and marble gravestones in the business’s warehouse when his foot became trapped under the front tyre of a forklift and was run over by the unlicensed forklift operator.

SafeWork NSW’s investigation found the injured worker was a sub-contractor employed to unpack boxes of gravestones at the business. The incident occurred when he was asked to assist the unlicensed forklift driver to steady a forklift load. The worker’s foot became trapped under the forklift’s front tyre, resulting in multiple fractures and de-gloving. Since the incident, the worker has required several operations in an attempt to repair the damage.

SafeWork NSW charged the business, Dynasty Stone Art, with a breach of section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW), for failing to comply with its duties under section 19(1) to ensure the health and safety of workers. The business was convicted by the District Court and fined $90,000.

Executive Director of SafeWork NSW, Peter Dunphy said the incident highlighted the risks of working with forklifts and the need for businesses to have traffic management plans.

“Forklifts are a major cause of death and injury in NSW workplaces,” Mr Dunphy said.

“Between July 2012 and July 2014, 1,360 workers were injured in forklift incidents, including five fatalities, at a cost of $15.8 million to the NSW workers compensation scheme.

“Despite the inherent dangers, incidents can be prevented.

“Business should separate pedestrians and forklifts and have a traffic management plan which outlines where vehicles can be operated.

“In this particular incident, no traffic management plan existed, the operator was unlicensed and the business had been moving headstones this way for several years, literally making it an incident waiting to happen.

“The worker should have been prohibited from being in proximity to the forklift, a tag line should have been used to control the load, the area that forklift was travelling in should have been kept clear and the driver should have been licensed and able to see the worker at all times.

“This incident highlights the need to ensure all forklift operators are licensed and that businesses have adequate traffic management systems in place to prevent workplace injuries involving forklifts.”

For further information on forklift safety, visit www.safework.nsw.gov.au or call 13 10 50.

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