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Health & Safety / Person Struck by Counterweight of Forklift

Person Struck by Counterweight of Forklift

Event Title: Person Struck by Counterweight of Forklift
Event date: 9th May 2020
Event location: Seeka

Event Description:
A serious incident occurred at Huka Pak today (09.05.20), the incident occured in the waste fruit area of the Huka Pak yard. An employee sustained a chipped hip bone, as a result of being struck by the counterweight of a forklift. The employee was transported to Tauranga Hospital , the incident has been notified to WorkSafe NZ.

In preparation for waste fruit loadout, Profruit waste bins had been laid out by the Forklift 1 driver (waste fruit forklift driver). Forklift 1 driver parked/dismounted forklift to attach the truck loading card to the bins, whilst attaching the cards, Forklift 2 (class 2 and waste fruit driver) reversed into the same area, they were picking up empty waste bins that were stacked against fence (near 10 high bins). While reversing he was looking to his right-hand side, (to look for trucks as this is near the truck entrance), therefore did not see forklift driver applying the cards who was on his left-hand side. Once they were sighted he applied the brakes however counterweight struck forklift 1 driver, the counterweight threw Forklift 1 driver to the side of the forklift.

Initial Actions Taken:

  • Support to forklift driver and the site staff, all staff have been offered EAP services
  • WorkSafe has been notified and an internal investigation is underway.
  • Event reported to Senior Management team and H&S Manager
  • Safety Alert issued
  • A review of the storage, traffic flow of the waste bin area has commenced, with the aim to separate both forklifts from each other, proposed changes to the area include:
    • Empty waste bins are to be stored in another area; therefore, this will remove any interaction between forklift 1 and forklift 2.
    • At times empty waste bins will still need to be stacked in the waste bin laydown area, however ONLY forklift 2 will do this. Forklift 2 will also move any bins to the designated area (where forklift 1 is operating).

Lessons and Recommendations:

  • Both pedestrians and forklifts need to be aware of their surroundings and adhere to the 3-meter exclusion zone – there are NO exceptions to this rule.
  • Forklifts are a critical risk and can cause serious injury
  • Always be aware of other forklifts/workers in your work area
  • Ensure that the appropriate traffic management plan is in place, this must include temporary barriers in the lay down and yard areas.
  • Always check your work front for new hazards – things can change in an instance.
  • Roles being reviewed to reduce working/task conflicts
  • All sites to review any operational areas in which forklifts are required to dismount, assess the risk and implement the appropriate control measures.
  • Waste area Traffic Management Plans – forklift vs forklift vs pedestrian is to be reviewed for all sites.
  • Review ongoing effectiveness to the Huka Pak changes as detailed above.