Meat production company prosecuted

Zammit Ham & Bacon Curers Pty Ltd was convicted and fined $75,000 after pleading guilty to a breach of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, after an incident resulting in the serious injury of an employee at its Pendle Hill worksite in September 2017.

Under section 19(1) of the Act, the defendant had a duty to ensure the health and safety of its workers and was charged with a failure to comply with this duty.

The worker was driving a forklift that held a pallet of processed meat when the incident occurred.

He lowered the pallet to the surface of the loading dock, and while reversing and preparing to turn the forklift, the right wheel fell off the edge of the loading dock and onto the concrete ramp.

The forklift toppled over, and as the worker was not wearing the fitted seatbelt, he was dislodged from the seat and became trapped between the ramp’s surface and the forklift.

The injured worker was pulled free with an excavator and transported to hospital where he underwent surgery.

The primary reason for the incident was the lack of a physical barrier to prevent the forklift going over the edge.

The day after the incident, the defendant installed a guardrail along the edge of the loading dock.

Executive Director of Investigations and Enforcement, Valerie Griswold, said all businesses should honour their pre-existing commitments to work health and safety.

“The defendant had a number of work health and safety policies involving discussions and toolbox talks, so it should have been able to eliminate or control the risks associated with the operation of forklifts near an unprotected edge at the site,” Ms Griswold said.

“While the forklifts were fitted with seatbelts, and personal protective equipment was issued to the workers, the defendant had no documented procedures, policies or traffic plans in place regarding the safe operation of forklifts.”

A lack of adequate training and supervision is also believed to be part of the problem that led to the incident.

“The defendant failed to provide adequate information or instruction to workers in regard to safe operation of the forklift, and also failed to properly supervise the drivers to ensure they were operating the forklifts safely,” Ms Griswold said.

Zammit Ham & Bacon Curers Pty Ltd has the right to appeal the sentence.

Source: Mirage news

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