An employer was recently prosecuted after a contractor on site was run over by a forklift resulting in the loss of two toes and fractures of his foot.

The employer had recognised the danger to pedestrians and, after getting advice from a Health & Safety Consultant, put in place rules around forklifts only travelling at walking pace and the driver and pedestrians having to make eye contact.

Despite these precautions, and eye contact being made, the pedestrian thought the forklift had stopped – so stepped in front of it and was run into.

The Court ordered $15,000 reparation to the victim plus a fine of $22,500.  This fine was reduced from the staring point of $40,000 based on the Company’s prior excellent record (no accidents in 20 years of operation), its guilty plea, and immediate remedial action to prevent future accidents.

The Court said that despite the safety plan in place it failed to prevent the accident because of the inattentive pedestrian.  The means to avoid such an accident was an exclusion zone marked by cones which would have been cheap and easy to implement.

This case is a timely reminder of the need to take ALL practicable steps to avoid accidents.

If you need help with your safety action plans give me a call on (04) 473 6850.