Warehousing and distribution company Cardinal Logistics has been fined $354,375 after a former worker was crushed by a forklift.

The worker was injured in September 2016 while walking through the businesses new Islington premises when he was crushed against racking by a forklift, resulting in a 35-day stay in hospital after suffering multiple fractures that broke the bone and pierced the skin.

A WorkSafe investigation found that while Cardinal had an effective traffic management system and appropriate control for separating pedestrians and forklifts, the system had not been implemented at their new warehouse in Islington.

The worker's injuries are ongoing and he has recently had his leg amputated.


Simon Humphries, WorkSafe's Deputy General Manager, Investigations and Specialist Services, warned that one of the first things a company needs to take to a new site is the element of care for its workers.

"Moving sites, or expanding into additional premises, one of the first things to take with you should be the elements that care for the safety of your workers," Humphries said.

"Cardinal knew the critical risk that forklifts posed to pedestrians and should have implemented a safe system of work before establishing operations at their new site. If they could do it at one site, they could do it at another. It should have been a priority – not a matter for once they were settled in."

The worker was also awarded reparations of $29,967 in addition to a voluntary payment of $56,000 prior to sentencing.

Cardinal's chief executive Brendon Furness said the company's "hearts and minds" went out to the worker and his family and other staff working on the day.

Health and safety was a priority for the company and it would continue to invest in it, he said.

Cardinal supported moves on health and safety and "collectively want to get our people home safe".

"We just want to get people home safe, every shift," Furness said.