The Federal Court has criticised a logistics company over the death of a
second warehouse worker, ruling it had provided 'minimal' instructions on
the safe use of forklifts, which led to the fatality.
A 24-year-old Philipino worker, contracted to Post Logistics, was killed in
May 2006 when he was crushed between a forklift and a pole at the company's
warehouse in Wetherill Park, Sydney.
The forklift was being driven by a certified driver at the time, however,
the Philipino worker climbed onto the forklift and placed his hand on the
driver's head and neck and his other hand under the driver's leg.
The reverse pedal was accidentally engaged and the forklift reversed. The
worker was crushed between the forklift and a pole and died at the scene.
Federal Court Justice Geoffrey Flick heard the worker had received
induction training when he commenced employment in 2004.
That training consisted of a verbal instruction 'to keep out of the way of
moving machinery' and verbal instructions as to safety rules, emergency
evacuation procedure, lifting, administrative matters, and site amenities.
He also attended a series of 'Take 5' talks, which covered a variety of
topics varying from heat stress, drugs and alcohol, to workplace
However, Flick found the worker had not been given instructions on the
prohibition of 'horseplay' around forklifts.
'They had not been given adequate or clear instructions as to the need to
ensure that there was no "horseplay" or "skylarking" in the vicinity of
forklifts. They were expected to "learn on the job",' he said.
'Such training and instructions as he should have been given were not given
by either Landmark Industrial Recruitment Pty Ltd (labour hire employer) or
by the present respondent (Post Logistics).
'The facts as agreed disclose that Mr Lapidario (worker) was provided with
what can only be described as minimal instructions directed at ensuring his
Guilty and fine
Post was found guilty of breaching s16 of the Commonwealth OHS Act 1991 by
failing to provide adequate supervision or instruction, and failing to
ensure there was an adequate traffic management system in place to prevent
or reduce the risk of the contractor coming into contact with a moving
Flick noted that in 2003 another worker had been killed at the warehouse,
while the year before another employee had been seriously injured in a
Post received a civil penalty of $165,000.
Actions since the incident
Since the worker's death, Post has implemented a system to monitor the
performance of supervisors and team leaders.
Traffic barriers have been put in place to separate moving forklifts from
The site where the worker was killed was previously an area shared by
machinery and pedestrians. It is now only an area for the operation of
Whereas none of the 'Take 5' sessions related to 'horseplay', there are now
in place more regular and comprehensive training sessions directed to
employees and contractors, regarding 'horseplay' and appropriate behaviour
in and around forklifts.