A furniture retailer has been fined $30,000 after two of its employees were injured when an elevating work platform toppled over at one of its stores.
The company pleaded guilty to failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment and was fined in the Perth Magistrates Court last week.
The incident happened in the dispatch warehouse of the companyï¿½s store in Cockburn.
Elevating work platformsï¿½known as ï¿½order pickersï¿½ were used to load and unload racks which were used to store furniture and bedding products. The workers were loading and unloading stock using one of the order pickers when the order picker toppled over until the front edge of the platform struck the ground.
One of the workers had minor injuries including cuts and bruising to his right arm. The other man sustained injuries including a laceration and significant bruising to his right arm and was not able to work for two months.
Investigation revealed that the order picker was overloaded. It was also found that the system of work in the warehouse did not include instructions to check the lifting capacity of the order picker or any instructions to assess the weight of stock being loaded onto the platform from the racking.
The employee operating the order picker has no high risk work licence to operate an order picker. The other worker obtained a high risk work licence the day before the incident happened. However, he has been operating the order picker for the previous three months.
WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said the case highlighted the importance of having safe systems of work in place at all times.
ï¿½It is crucial that written safe work procedures are in place in workplaces such as this one, and that employers ensure employees are aware of them and putting them into practice,ï¿½ said Mr McCulloch.
ï¿½It would not have been difficult for the employer to ensure that the lifting capacity information was updated on the data plate of the order picker and that all employees who operated the order picker had a high risk work licence and had been trained in stock weights.
ï¿½Subsequent to this incident, the employer had the relevant employees from its four WA stores trained to obtain high risk licences, and had weight sensor devices fitted to all order pickers in operation.
ï¿½If these steps had been taken earlier, these employees would have been spared a great deal of suffering.ï¿½