On 16 April 2021, a forklift operator was sentenced in the Brisbane Magistrates Court for failing to take reasonable care his acts did not adversely affect the health and safety of others, contrary to sections 28 and 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. Magistrate Colin Strofield imposed a fine of $3,000 and no conviction was recorded.
The defendant was employed by a transport and storage company as a worker, and was engaged in cruise ship services at the Portside Wharf in Hamilton, including ground handling and stevedoring. Part of the defendant’s duties involved transporting luggage to and from cruise ships using a forklift, which he was appropriately licensed to do.
On 3 March 2020, the defendant was operating a forklift with a full luggage cage on its tines moving toward a cruise ship for loading. As he was driving, one side of the luggage cage opened and became stuck. The defendant stopped the forklift and exited to pick up the luggage that fell out. Another worker driving a forklift approached the defendant, stopped and got out to assist the defendant. The workers agreed the forklift needed to be reversed to retrieve the luggage stuck underneath. The defendant returned to his forklift and operated it forward, striking the worker with the cage on the tines of the forklift.
The worker sustained bilateral compound fractures to both legs and was transported to hospital where he underwent surgery.
In sentencing, Magistrate Strofield indicated there were several mitigating factors, including an early guilty plea, the defendant’s age, his lack of prior work health and safety offending, and his cooperation with the investigation by participating in an interview in which he made admissions to the offending.
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Sections 28(b) and 32 Work Health and Safety Act 2011