Company fined after worker’s body crushed

WorkSafe is reminding businesses to take their health and safety systems with them when they move or expand their operations before commencing operations. And to treat them as a priority during the move.

The prompt follows the sentencing of Cardinal Logistics Limited after they appeared in the Christchurch District Court today for sentencing following an incident that left a worker with life-changing injuries.

Cardinal Logistics provide warehousing and distribution services for importers and exporters. In September 2016, a worker was walking through the businesses new warehouse when a forklift rounded a corner and the worker’s body was crushed against racking.

The worker sustained multiple fractures that broke the bone and pierced the skin resulting in a 35-day stay in hospital. The injuries are ongoing and the victim has recently had his leg amputated and continues to have ongoing medical intervention in respect of his arm.

WorkSafe’s investigation found that the warehouse in which the incident occurred was a new premise and the lease was still held on original warehouse in Hornby.

While Cardinal Logistics had an effective traffic management system and the appropriate controls for separating pedestrians and forklifts in place at their Hornby warehouse, they had not implemented this at their new warehouse at Islington. Planning for a system had begun, orders had been placed, but the system had not been implemented prior to commencing operations.

WorkSafe’s Deputy General Manager, Investigations and Specialist Services Simon Humphries said when you’re:

“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.”

“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.”

Cardinal Logistics has since implemented a reasonably practicable system of effective traffic management and the appropriate controls for the separation of pedestrians and forklifts.