WorkSafe is reminding businesses to take their health and safety systems with them when they move or expand their operations and to treat them as a priority during the move
The prompt follows the sentencing of Cardinal Logistics Limited after they appeared in the Christchurch District Court recently, following an incident that left a worker with life-changing injuries.
Cardinal Logistics provide warehousing and distribution services for importers and exporters.
In September 2016, a worker was walking through the new warehouse premises when a forklift rounded a corner and crushed his body against racking.
The worker sustained multiple fractures that broke his leg and arm, resulting in a 35-day stay in hospital.
The injuries are ongoing, with the victim recently having his leg amputated and continuing to have ongoing medical intervention for his arm.
The regulator’s investigation found that the warehouse in which the incident occurred was a new premise and the lease was still held on the original warehouse in Hornby.
While Cardinal Logistics had an effective traffic management system and appropriate controls for separating pedestrians and forklifts in place in Hornby, they had not implemented this at their new warehouse at Islington.
Planning for a system had begun and orders had been placed, but the system had not been implemented prior to commencing operations.
WorkSafe’s Deputy General Manager, Investigations and Specialist Services Simon Humphries says, “When you’re moving sites, or expanding into additional premises, one of the first things to take with you should be the elements that care for the safety of your workers.”
“Cardinal knew the critical risk that forklifts posed to pedestrians and should have implemented a safe system of work before establishing operations at their new site.
“If they could do it at one site, they could do it at another.
“It should have been a priority – not a matter for once they were settled in.”
Cardinal Logistics has since implemented a practicable system of effective traffic management and the appropriate controls for the separation of pedestrians and forklifts.
The firm received a fine of $354,375 and reparations of $29,967.78 were ordered, in addition to a voluntary payment of $56,000 prior to sentencing.
Cardinal Logistics Limited was charged under sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and (2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015:
“Being a PCBU, failed to ensure so far as was reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers who worked for the PCBU, while the workers were at work in the business or undertaking and that failure exposed the workers to a risk of serious injury arising from the hazard of forklifts operating close to workers.”
The maximum penalty is a fine not exceeding $1,500,000.