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Facility

Geelong Citrus Packers, a fruit and vegetable wholesaler.

Incident Type

Worker seriously injured by falling load from a forklift.

Date of Incident

July 2021.

Penalty Imposed

$50,000 fine and $4,331 in costs for failing to maintain safe work systems.

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Introduction

Victorian company Geelong Citrus Packers has been penalized $50,000 following a forklift accident in their warehouse that resulted in serious injuries to a worker, including fractures and spinal breaks.

Details of the Incident

In July 2021, a worker at Geelong Citrus Packers was injured when part of a forklift load fell on him while he was washing a truck in the company’s loading area. The load comprised empty fruit bins which became unsteady and collapsed onto the worker.

Operational Context

A WorkSafe investigation revealed that although the company had a traffic management plan, it was insufficient in eliminating or reducing the risk of forklifts colliding with pedestrians. Further inspections in March 2022 found lapses in forklift safety practices at the site.

Court’s Decision and Impact on Victims

Geelong Citrus Packers pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to provide or maintain safe systems of work in the Geelong Magistrates Court. The court emphasized the need for a system separating workers from areas where forklifts operated. The company was fined $50,000 and ordered to pay $4,331 in costs.

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