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Details of successful prosecution against E183257

Incident description

On 1 May 2013 a routine work day, a worker was requested to operate a forklift for which he did not have the appropriate authorisation to operate under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. The worker was undertaking a simultaneous lift of a large shipping container with a second forklift. While manoeuvring the container in an outside yard the worker’s forklift came in to close proximity with a nearby stored container. The worker put his foot outside the confines of the forklift platform to steady himself for the impending collision. His foot was caught and crushed between the two containers.

Court result

The defendant pleaded guilty in the Richlands Magistrates Court on 8 September 2014 to breaching s.32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, having failed to meet its work health and safety duties and was sentenced.

Magistrate Matthew McLaughlin fined the defendant $35,000 and ordered professional and court costs totalling $1080.20. He also made an order under s.239 that the defendant not offend against the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 for a period of 12 months, with a recognisance in the sum of $50,000 to be forfeited if convicted of an offence within this period. No conviction was recorded.

In reaching a decision, the magistrate acknowledged the defendant failed to comply with s.32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and follow relevant Australian Standards related to carrying out simultaneous lifts using two forklifts. In particular the magistrate noted a simultaneous lift using two forklifts must be undertaken rarely, with only authorised forklift operators and under the direction of a competent third person to oversee and coordinate. He took in to account post-incident measures the defendant company put in place and noted it no longer carried out the dual lifts, as it had reorganised its stock loading/unloading area.

In deciding penalty, the magistrate took into account the defendant company had operated for more than 35 years without previous prosecutions for any work health and safety breach. The court acknowledged it was a part of a larger business group, employing approximately 35 workers at its distribution warehouse and approximately 600 employees engaged in its wider business in three states. It cooperated with the investigation and entered an early plea of guilty.

Considerations for prevention

(commentary under this heading is not part of the court's decision)

When working in the transport and warehousing industries where there is exposure to risks from moving plant, duty holders should implement suitable control measures to prevent the risk of workers being crushed by mobile plant, ensure plant operators are appropriately qualified, risk assessments are carried out and safe systems of work are implemented.


Manchester and other textile goods
Date of offence:
Multiple crush and fracture injuries to the left foot
Richlands Magistrates Court
Magistrate Matthew McLaughlin
s.32 of the duty under s.19 of Work Health and Safety Act 2011
Decision date:
$35,000 and a 12 month court ordered undertaking per s.239 with a recognisance in the amount of $50 000
Maximum Penalty:
$1.5 million
Conviction recorded:
CIS event number:
Last updated
02 July 2018

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