Meat processor fined $375,000

A mid-North Coast meat processing business has been fined $375,000 over the death of a worker at its Frederickton plant.

Forklift in warehouse

The 28 year old worker died after he became pinned between a steel bin that was being carried by a forklift and a wall.

The incident occurred when the man, who was employed to undertake meat rendering and general plant duties at the processing plant, was using a forklift to remove empty steel bins from the rendering plant.

The worker was not licensed to operate a forklift and was not being supervised by a licensed forklift driver.

After moving a steel bin to the wall, the worker stopped the forklift on a sloping incline and applied the handbrake, but did not chock the wheels. He then walked between the front of the forklift and the wall, pushing and kicking the bin in an attempt to close the bin’s door.

The forklift’s handbrake suddenly released, pinning the man between the bin and the wall, causing fatal injuries.

The company pleaded guilty and was fined $375,000 in the District Court.

Executive Director of SafeWork NSW, Peter Dunphy said the risk of serious injury or death was obvious but the employer’s work health and safety systems were inadequate.

“Proper safety systems include providing workers with instruction and training in the safe use of forklifts, and providing wheel chocks on forklifts to prevent unintended movement.

“Other steps include implementing and enforcing a key register to restrict the use of forklifts to licensed operators only.

“Trainee forklift drivers should be supervised by a licensed driver and a risk assessment on the parking of forklifts on inclines should be undertaken.

“As a result of this totally preventable incident, a young family has lost its father and a small community has been left devastated.”

For more information, visit our forklift safety page or call 13 10 50.

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