Lagondar Nominees Pty Ltd and director Emil Lagondar were sentenced in the Melbourne Country Court on 29 July after pleading guilty on 15 June to one charge each of failing to provide a safe workplace.
They were fined $250,000 and $125,000 respectively.
The court heard the company had sold its Clayton warehouse and the worker was helping with decommissioning work prior to settlement.
On 15 April 2019, the worker was in an unsecured cage elevated by a forklift about 4.5 metres off the ground when the cage fell from the forklift to the concrete floor below.
He suffered fatal head injuries.
A WorkSafe investigation found that the cage was unstable and unable to be properly secured to the forklift and that there were several risk control measures that could have been taken, including using an elevated work platform such as a scissor lift, which was available at the workplace.
WorkSafe Acting Executive Director of Health and Safety Andrew Keen said the incident was a tragedy that should have been avoided.
“This death is a heartbreaking reminder of what can happen when duty holders are not thinking about safety,” Mr Keen said.
“Falls from height remain a leading cause of death and serious injury in Victorian workplaces and WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute duty holders who fail to do everything they can to keep their workplaces safe.”
Where forklift work platforms are used, duty holders should ensure:
- That the work cannot be undertaken more safely using elevated work platforms, such as scissor lifts and boom lifts.
- Only appropriate “fit for purpose” forklift attachments are used and in accordance with instructions.
- Safety cages and designated forklifts comply with Australian Standards.
- Operators are trained, licensed, instructed and supervised.
- Safe work procedures are developed, including emergency response and rescue provisions.
- Safety cages with a meshed in work area are securely attached to the tines when employees are performing tasks.
- Persons remain within the forklift safety cage when it is raised.
- Pedestrians and mobile powered plant are separated.