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WorkSafe Victoria are Taking More Action on Forklift Safety

Posted by Richard Forster on 8 May 2023

WorkSafe has recently released some sobering statistics regarding fatalities and injuries associated with the use of forklifts.

Many Victorian workplaces use forklifts as they offer a practical way to lift and stack heavy loads. However, forklifts are also one of the most hazardous pieces of equipment found in Victorian workplaces.

More workplace injuries and deaths involve forklifts than any other type of equipment in the workplace. The best way to avoid such incidents is for employers to ensure that their machinery and systems of work are safe and fit for purpose.

In the past four years, eight people have died because of forklift incidents in the workplace, including being hit by forklift loads, falling from raised cages, and forklifts tipping over.

In 2022, WorkSafe accepted 142 claims where the cause of injury was a forklift incident, with the transport, postal and warehousing industry accounting for the most claims (45), followed by manufacturing (35) and wholesale trade (32). More than half of these claims were from forklift operators.

The most common incidents included pedestrians being hit by forklifts, with 26 serious injury claims accepted in 2022, and operators injured getting on and off forklifts (23 claims).

On nine occasions workers were injured by poorly secured forklift loads that fell on them, and five people were injured when forklifts tipped over.

Recent prosecutions involving forklifts

  • Dingley Village stone importer Australia Rong Hua Fu Pty Ltd (RHF Stone) fined $475,000 in December after a worker was fatally crushed by stone slabs, including $100,000 for multiple safety failings with a forklift being used at the time.
  • Dandenong South food service wholesaler C.C.B Enterprises Pty Ltd fined $35,000 in May after a worker was struck by a forklift suffering multiple fractures to his leg and foot.
  • Australian Lamb (Colac) fined $55,000 in March after an elevated forklift load fell at the abattoir and hit a worker, knocking him unconscious and breaking a bone in his spine.
  • Delacombe brick manufacturer Enviroflame Firelogs (Australia) Pty Ltd and its director were fined a combined $47,500 in January after the director reversed a forklift into a worker.

Employers are urged to put safety first and ensure compliance by visiting the following webpage and implementing the requirements where appropriate.


Managing the risks of high-risk plant such as forklifts forms part of the HAZCON 2 Day OHS course for managers and supervisors. Further details can be obtained here https://www.hazcon.com.au/ohstraining.html

Statistics and prosecutions have been sourced from the WorkSafe Victoria website.

Author:Richard Forster


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