Lack of risk assessment costs company 90k

By Andrew Hobbs on November 10th, 2017
  1. Risk Management
  2. Risk Assessment


FORKLIFTS are rife with danger. And today we have a case that demonstrates why it’s so important to conduct risk assessments for every piece of new plant or equipment that enters your workplace.

Plus, making sure workers who are required to use the equipment are fully trained up is key to ensuring your safety systems stack up.

What happened?

Wodonga Rendering has found this out the hard way after it was fined $85,000 in the Wodonga Magistrates Court after a forklift tipped over, trapping two workers and injuring one of them.

The forklift was using a jib attachment and rotator to lift 810kg bags of blood meal onto a semi-trailer when it tipped after moving onto uneven ground. It was the first time the workers involved had used the jib and rotator, and the Court heard that they had received no training on the use of the equipment before the accident.

No training is an alarm bell to any health and safety inspector – and it should be to you too.

The Wodonga Magistrates Court heard load capacity tests of the forklift had not included the use of attachments or of suspended loads – meaning that the company had failed to calculate the correct working load limit of the vehicle.

The company had also failed to provide workers with the necessary information to determine the weight that could be lifted with the attachments, the Court found.

The Border Mail reported that a WorkSafe investigation found the forklift was overloaded by 208kg, while the jib and rotator were also overloaded by 430kg and 157kg respectively.

Wodonga Rendering, which was also required to pay another $5,200 in costs, has made changes since the incident, The Border Mail reported.

Too risky to go without them

While the workers involved in this incident were familiar with forklifts, they weren’t familiar with the new attachments to the forklift being used – meaning their standard processes should have been reviewed and additional training should have been undertaken.

Assessing the forklift with jib and rotator attached may have revealed the potential for new hazards – with a thorough assessment of the new risks to follow.

This process of assessment is explained in chapter R3 Risk Assessment of the Health & Safety Handbook.

Assessing the risks – looking at how severe the consequences might be and the likelihood of them happening based on the exposure of workers to the hazard allows you to implement risk controls to reduce – and hopefully eliminate – the risk and its consequences.

Further information on risk assessments, including a template for assessments of manual handling activities and a checklist for determining the likely consequences of an incident, is available in the chapter, developed by the health and safety lawyers at Holding Redlich.

Sign up for a copy of the Health & Safety Handbook on an obligation-free trial today to see how it can help you to reduce the health and safety risk your workers are exposed to every day.


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