Lack of training and instruction blamed for fatal accident.

Pickles Auctions has been penalised more than $250,000 after a forklift operator was killed while unloading a truck at the company’s Milperra storage and auction site. The incident occurred in 2013 when the 36 year old forklift driver and a 19 year old labourer were attempting to unload a cabinet from a truck. The driver lost control of the load and the cabinet struck both workers, killing the driver and injuring the labourer.

The court found that the driver had asked for help  from the labourer who had only been employed at Pickles Auctions for 2 months. The labourer had been given no instructions on how to unload something safely.

The investigation by SafeWork NSW found that a lack of safety systems, instruction and supervision were major contributors to the incident. Pickles Auctions had failed to train and instruct the workers how to safely remove the cabinet from the truck and did not tell them which forklift could safely carry the cabinet. As a result the wrong forklift was selected and the results were tragic.

Forklifts continue to be a major factor in workplace deaths and injuries, between July 2012 and July 2014, 1,360 workers were injured in forklift incidents including 5 fatalities.

If you have a forklift in your workplace:

  • Ensure is is in good condition and correctly serviced.
  • Provide a pre start book to be completed each day when the forklift is used.
  • Ensure ANY person who uses the forklift has completed their Forklift License and is competent on that forklift.
  • Ensure you have signage and a traffic plan that everyone is aware of if pedestrians share the area.

Just following these simple steps will make your workplace safer.

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