The District Court has fined an employer $20,000 after an employee was crushed by a truck he was working on. The truck had been raised by placing it on stacks of wooden blocks, allowing access underneath. However, the wooden blocks were sloped.

When the employee removed a component of the truck, the handbrake became disengaged. The truck rolled over him causing serious injuries.

The employee spent two months in hospital with broken ribs, sternum, and pelvis, punctured lung, and nerve damage, as a result of the incident.

The Court noted the inexperienced nature of the employee and that he had been left unsupervised when working on heavy equipment. Additionally, the Court expressed that it was unacceptable to be stacking a truck on top of wooden blocks and that a hoist or axle stand should have been used.

All employers operating a workplace have a responsibility to mitigate hazards and ensure work is performed in a safe manner. This includes appropriate supervision of inexperienced staff and the use of appropriate equipment.

Alan Knowsley
Health and Safety Lawyer