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WorkCover Urges Caution after Forklift Fatality

Monday, December 23, 2013

Workcover New South Wales says injuries and deaths at work can have a long term impact on employees and special support is needed.

Workcover and police are investigating how Hillston man Glen Baillie was run over and killed by a 20 tonne forklift on a potato farm last Monday.

The authority is urging people using heavy machinery to practice extreme caution and implement safety procedures.

Potato grower Rennie Produce has been ordered to review its forklift procedures after the 57 year old truck driver was run over by a reversing forklift.

Two colleagues were taken to hospital suffering from shock after the accident.

Mr Baillie was a well loved community member in Hillston.

Workcover's Director of Regional Operations Tony Williams, says it is too early in the investigation to explain exactly what happened, but further action could be taken against the company.

"Any incident at a workplace has a devastating effect not only obviously on the family but certainly on the workplace and the colleagues," he said.

"It's very, very tragic and the effects can be quite long term. It is important to appreciate that colleagues and the workplace will be in shock, require some support. So we would always encourage employees to consider that and do whatever they can to support employees through that."

Mr Williams says all workplaces must adhere to their traffic management plans and be aware of the risk of using mobile plant equipment.

"In light of this incident there are numerous things we're urging businesses to do in relation to the use of load handling equipment particularly fork lifts. Separation is the key, separation of plants and equipment and people. So making sure whether it's the truck driver or pedestrian or a family member on a farm are out of the way. Very important that forklifts are maintained and ensure that people that are operating them are correctly licensed."

Mr Williams says businesses can apply for safety grants to improve operating systems.

"That allows small businesses to obtain some assistance from Workcover to the value of $500," he said.

"And that can be used to put in traffic management systems. So that could be signage, speed control, bumps, warning signs, convex mirrors, staunches and safe pedestrian access areas that can really assist in making sure that people and plants are kept separated and that people are safe."

Courtesy:  ABC News


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