Forklift load falls and kills 60-year-old man

Thursday, 14 January, 2010

WorkSafe investigators have begun an inquiry into the death of a 60-year-old man who died when computer equipment being removed from a truck fell and struck him. The man died at the scene.

WorkSafe believes the man was guiding a forklift driver, who was to remove the computer equipment, weighing some 200 kg and standing about 2 m high, from the back of a semitrailer. The equipment was on castors and not mounted on a pallet.

Forklifts are among the state’s most dangerous machines, accounting for 57 deaths since 1985, with 16 of those deaths involving loads falling from a forklift.

To reinforce material already released to industry about the dangers of working with forklifts, WorkSafe recently released posters warning of the dangers of working near the machines.

WorkSafe’s acting Executive Director, Stan Krpan, said that after 30 traumatic work-related deaths last year - the highest since 2002 - this latest tragedy was a reminder of the urgent need for employers and workers to maximise safe work practices: “January, ... March and November, are the most dangerous months with each recording 36 deaths over the past decade.

“With many businesses relatively quiet at this time of the year, now is the time to go through the potential safety issues and work out what can be done to eliminate them. Once that’s done, put a plan together and get to work putting it into effect.

“It’s in everyone’s interests to do this sooner rather than later. Don’t adopt a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude, or wait until a WorkSafe inspector arrives or a tragedy strikes.”

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