Workplace accident serves as forklift warning

A man remains in a permanent vegetative state nearly three years after a 700kg crate of glass fell on him as it was moved by a forklift.

A man remains in a permanent vegetative state nearly three years after a 700kg crate of glass fell on him as it was moved by a forklift after being unloaded from a truck at Dandenong.

Judge Chettle convicted and fined Asixa $250,000 after the company pleaded guilty to two workplace health and safety charges laid as a result of the July 2006 incident.

He said although safety improvements were made after the incident, they should have made sooner. The injured man was an employee of a labour hire company but was a deemed employee of Asixa.

The injured man was using a forklift to unload the glass from a truck at Asixa’s warehouse which was at the time in Quantum Close, Dandenong.

The crate of glass was 1.5m high, by 2m wide and around 20cm deep.

WorkSafe’s Executive Director John Merritt said the shocking and disastrous outcome for the injured man and his family was a warning to everyone that the potential for workplace deaths were not the only issue to be addressed.

“Apart from the deaths, every year there are amputations or hands, fingers, arms and legs, people end up in wheelchairs, brain damaged or living with the assistance of machines.

“In terms of the outcome for the individual and their family, this is one of the worst cases that WorkSafe has had to deal with,” Merritt said.

“Forklifts are among the most common, and dangerous pieces of equipment in Victorian workplaces yet serious incidents still occur, frequently to people with inadequate training.

“Although 56 people have died as a result of forklift incidents in Victoria since 1985 — one-third involving people hit by falling loads — there are many more where they suffer serious and often permanent, injury.”

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