A County Court judge has convicted and fined a Laverton North cold storage company $175,000 after a worker died after being struck and killed by a forklift. A.B. Oxford Cold Storage pleaded guilty to workplace health and safety charges before Judge Michael Bourke.
WorkSafe Victoria investigated the incident and found that the company did not have adequate traffic management system in place when 38-year-old, Stephen Peluso of Elwood was hit by a forklift and died.
Sentencing the A.B. Oxford Cold Storage company this morning, Judge Bourke said there was:
- A pressing back-log of material at the company’s warehouse that had to be moved or stored
- Pedestrian walkways were crossed by forklifts
- As pallets of stock were stacked too high, visibility for forklift drivers was hindered
According to John Merritt, Executive Director, WorkSafe Victoria, with warehouses and businesses facing their busiest time of the year it was essential they had and enforced high standards of traffic management. There will be a lot of pressure to get stock in to and out of warehouses, shops and shopping centres in the next few weeks that is why having good traffic management which separates pedestrians and forklifts saves lives.
A reflective vest is little protection against a forklift if the business does not have safe systems in place and if it does not ensure drivers are properly trained and licensed and using a seatbelt.They are at risk if they are not properly inducted and know the rules about working in areas with forklifts or being able to take shortcuts.