A 24 year-old man has been killed when the forklift he was driving rolled at his workplace in Whangarei.

The man died at the scene at Kiwi Timber Protection Ltd, at about 10.45am, yesterday.

WorkSafe New Zealand is investigating the death and the matter has been referred to the coroner.

A company spokesman said he was unable to comment on the incident at this stage.

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The timber preserving plant is in Union East St, adjacent to the Carter Holt Harvey Kiwi Timber Company mill.

It is the second death in exactly a year in the enclave of timber processing plants. On February 13 last year, a truck driver died when a truck and trailer unit, fully laden with woodchip, rolled down a bank while leaving the Kiwi Timber Company. It is understood the cause of that death was health-related.

The health and safety regulator WorkSafe New Zealand is a new Crown agency set up late last year. There are on average 75 workplace deaths in NZ every year and many serious injuries.