Oakville Produce fined over truck driver death

Oakville Produce was charged for failing to have a traffic management plan at the site


A potato farm located in Hillston, New South Wales, has been fined $187,500 after a truck driver died in a forklift accident at the farm in December 2013.

Oakville Produce was charged under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 for breach of duty for failing to have a traffic management plan and not offering a forklift adequate visibility at the site.

The 57-year-old driver was working with a forklift driver and a harvest supervisor at the time of the accident.

The forklift driver reversed the forklift, which had a blind spot, accidentally hitting the truck driver and the harvest supervisor.

The supervisor was unhurt but the truck driver died from his injuries.

SafeWork NSW executive director Peter Dunphy says the accident could have been prevented had an effective traffic management plan been in place.

"Forklifts are a major cause of death and injury in NSW workplaces," Dunphy says.

"Between July 2012 and July 2014, 1,360 workers were injured in forklift incidents, including five fatalities, at a cost of $15.8 million to the NSW workers compensation scheme.

"Despite the inherent dangers, incidents can be prevented.

"The best way to do this is to separate pedestrians and forklifts with barriers and have a traffic management plan with rules about how and where vehicles should be operated.

"In this particular incident, Oakville Produce Pty Ltd did not have a traffic management plan for the loading and unloading of forklifts in bin bay areas.

"They also failed to provide a forklift without blind spots or sufficient mirrors that addressed blind spots.

"This incident serves as a reminder to the agriculture industry of the importance of effective traffic management systems and I urge all agriculture businesses to develop one before there is a pedestrian injury or death at their workplace."


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