A Canterbury timber company has been ordered to pay more than $100,000 in fines and reparation after one of its employees was killed in a forklift accident.

McAlpines Timber was sentenced in Rangiora District Court today, following the death of Joseph Mangan, 44.

In September last year Mr Mangan was supervising the loading of his truck and trailer at the company's Rangiora yard. He was standing behind the trailer being loaded, when struck by another forklift.

In court today, McAlpines Timber was fined $40,130 and ordered to pay reparation totalling $67,200 after earlier admitting failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of an employee - specifically, that the employee was not exposed to hazards arising from the use of forklifts in the workplace.

The Department of Labour said the case highlighted the need for employers to make sure their workers were able to work safely around machinery.

Christchurch service manager Margaret Radford said the accident was preventable.

"When forklifts are operated in restricted spaces where other people are also working, employers should take particular care to make sure that employees are not harmed.

"The hazards associated with loading and unloading truck and trailers with forklifts including driver safety zones and pedestrian movements in close proximity to forklift operations should not be overlooked."