Company fined $45k over 'tragic' forklift death

Harry George died when a forklift crushed him at United Containers' yard in Mt Wellington. Photo / Chris Loufte
Harry George died when a forklift crushed him at United Containers' yard in Mt Wellington. Photo / Chris Loufte

The "tragic'' death of a worker who was crushed under a 239 tonne forklift has landed an Auckland company with an almost $45,000 fine.

The Fowlers Machinery worker had been carrying out repairs on the left front brake of a forklift when it dropped onto him last September.

He was trapped under the 239 tonne machine and died of asphyxia at the scene.

Fowlers Machinery Ltd - which hires, sells and repairs forklifts - was charged under the Health and Safety in Employment Act with failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees.

The company was fined $44,600 in Auckland District Court today.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment northern region health and safety manager John Howard said the "tragic accident'' served as a warning for all employers and employees carrying out hazardous work.

"There is simply no room for complacency,'' he said.

"It was this employee's right to return home safe and well to his loved ones at the end of the working day. And this would have been possible if Fowlers Machinery had in place safe operating procedures for lifting and supporting forklifts, and ensured all workers were trained to follow these.''

Mr Howard said a "safety first'' attitude and culture would have prevented the death.

"It would have ensured the company used the correct equipment for the job, including appropriate support blocks, wheel chocks, and blocks or chains for securing the elevated mast.''

- APNZ

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