Three companies fined over forklift injury

Last updated 11:58 19/08/2014

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Three companies will pay a total of $120,000 in fines and $20,000 reparation after a worker was hit by a reversing forklift at a Mt Maunganui pack house.

In May last year, Erica Machado, 33, suffered a gash to her leg and a broken ankle when a forklift backed into her.

She had been straightening rows of boxes in an area of the kiwifruit pack house designated for the assembly of packaging trays.

WorkSafe today published the findings of the Tauranga District Court, saying the companies had failed to take all practicable steps to ensure Machado was not harmed at work.

Her employer, LRK Trays Ltd, the pack house operator and employer of the forklift driver, Mount Pack and Cool Ltd, and the company that supplied the trays, Orora Packaging Ltd, were convicted under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

The companies were fined $39,375 each and were to split evenly the $20,000 reparation.

WorkSafe chief investigator Keith Stewart said the companies failed to put in proper workplace rules to manage the risk posed by forklifts to workers.

"This incident could have been easily avoided if a barrier had been put in place to prevent the forklift from moving into the tray markers' area," he said.

"Without proper barriers or some form of isolation, an accident such as this was sadly predictable.

"All three companies should have done more to ensure that forklifts were kept well away from the area Ms Machado was working in."

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