Lyttelton Port told to cut container stacks

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 14:35 08/01/2014
The cab of a forklift is crushed by a container at the Port of Lyttleton.

CRUSHED: The cab of a forklift is crushed by a container at the Port of Lyttleton.

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Changes to the way shipping containers are stacked at Lyttelton Port Company's city depot have been made after a worker was seriously injured when one crushed the cab of his forklift.

Lyttelton Port Company (LPC) and WorkSafe New Zealand have launched a full investigation after a 21-year-old worker only a few weeks into the job had a shipping container fall onto his forklift on Saturday morning.

The container was believed to have come from a stack that was seven containers high.

The worker suffered serious head injuries and remains in Christchurch Hospital in a "satisfactory" condition.

In a statement released late last night, LPC said WorkSafe NZ inspectors visited the city depot in Woolston's Chapmans Rd yesterday.

"As part of that visit, they requested documentation including operational procedures regarding stacking containers," the statement said.

"Our documentation, particularly our hazard register, does not reflect current operational practices."

WorkSafe NZ issued the company with a notice requiring it to follow current documented operational procedures.

The notice prohibited workers at the depot from putting more than five 12.2 metre (40 foot) containers into a new stack or more than four 6.1m (20ft) containers into one stack.

The notice did not bar workers from removing containers above that height or operating around higher stacks.

LPC said it aimed to have the notice lifted quickly and would carry out a risk assessment of putting more than four or five containers into one stack today.

The company would also be looking at the "causal factors" associated with Saturday's incident.

"We are committed to taking the appropriate learnings and providing a safe work environment for our staff," the statement said.

The company would not make any further comment until the investigation was completed.

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