Three companies have been fined nearly $120,000 in total and ordered to pay combined reparation of $20,000 after a woman was hit by a reversing forklift.

Erica Machado, 33, was working in a kiwifruit pack house at Mount Maunganui in May 2013 when the accident occurred.

She was straightening rows of boxes in an area of the pack house designated for the assembly of kiwifruit packaging trays when the forklift backed into her.

Her ankle was fractured, which required pins to be inserted, and she suffered a large cut to one of her legs.

Advertisement

The company which employed her, LRK Trays Limited, the pack house operator and employer of the forklift driver Mount Pack and Cool Limited, and the company which supplied the kiwifruit trays, Orora Packaging Limited (formerly Amcor Packaging (NZ) Ltd) were all convicted under the Health and Safety in Employment Act of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that she was not harmed at work.

Yesterday the companies were fined $39,375 each in the Tauranga District Court. A $20,000 reparation was shared between the companies.

WorkSafe New Zealand's chief investigator Keith Stewart said the companies failed to put in place proper workplace rules to manage the risk posed by forklifts to workers on foot.

"This incident could have been easily avoided if a barrier had been put in place to prevent the forklift from moving into the tray makers' area.

"Without proper barriers or some form of isolation an accident such as this was sadly predictable. All three companies should have done more to ensure that forklifts were kept well away from the area Ms Machado was working in," he said.