Case studies

In these case studies, we’ll examine the facts of incidents and situations that WorkSafe has been involved in. Maybe these touch on safety issues in your workplace? If so, read on to learn how you can manage them.

These case studies first appear in our Workplace Issues magazine.

Case studies

What happened?

Deliveries are unloaded at a shop in a public carpark, using a forklift. This happens three or four times a day. There is apparently no marked-out loading zone, and the forklift’s lights and reversing alarms don’t work.

This raised concerns for the safety of customers and their vehicles.

What were the safety issues?

The shop owner admitted he drove the forklift without having a high risk work licence to do so. This is illegal. The forklift was also in poor condition, with the hydraulic hoses in the mast being severely damaged.

How was this problem fixed?

The shop owner enrolled with a registered training organisation to get a high risk work licence to operate a forklift.

What can you do?

Make sure you or your workers are licenced to operate a forklift. Find out more about high risk work licences.

Learn how to safely operate and maintain your forklift. Our practical guide ‘Forklift safety: Reducing the risks’ covers these, plus traffic management, training and pre-start checks.

If you need further help understanding forklift safety and licensing requirements, talk to our Helpline or request a free visit from one of our Safety Advisors.

What happened?

A farm where backpackers worked had no toilets: they worked a 13-hour day without access to a toilet. The backpacker felt it was the responsibility of the labour-hire agency (that sent the workers to the farm) to make sure the workplace adequate facilities for workers.

He didn’t feel like he could raise the matter with his employer, as he had just started working for them.

He was also concerned that the other workers, many from non-English speaking backgrounds, would be unlikely to complain or know about WHS requirements.

What were the safety issues?

The labour-hire agency’s operations manager had conducted pre-site visits before they sent workers to the workplace, so she was unable to explain why toilets were not provided for workers at this particular worksite.

How was this problem fixed?

The labour-hire manager arranged for toilets to be in place before work began the next day.

What can you do?

The Managing the Work Environment and Facilities code of practice will help you identify what facilities are needed for workers, including toilets and handwashing. It includes an extensive checklist for auditing your workplace.

Our March 2016 edition of Workplace Issues magazine had a feature on managing the safety of labour-hire workers, whether you’re the agency providing them or the workplace using them.

If you need further help understanding facilities for workers in your workplace, talk to our Helpline or request a free visit from one of our Safety Advisors.

What happened?

A truck driver was working in a remote area, getting ready to load an excavator onto his truck’s trailer. As he walked under the raised steel ramp; it fell and pinned him beneath. He was knocked unconscious.

The excavator operator found the driver and saw he was turning blue in the face. The operator raised the fallen ramp and tried to call emergency services. The driver began breathing again and regained consciousness.

Ambulance Tasmania, the State Emergency Service, Tasmania Fire Service and Tasmania Police attended the scene.

What injuries occurred?

The truck driver was taken to hospital, and found to be suffering multiple injuries, requiring a lengthy recovery period.

Any contributing factors?

It was found that the power take off drive from the truck and the power source that drives the hydraulic pump was not engaged, and therefore the hydraulic system was not pressurised. This would explain why the ramp fell while the truck driver was making his preparations.

How was this problem fixed?

The workplace:

  • had the truck’s hydraulics fixed to include safety devices to prevent this happening again
  • developed a safe operating procedure that includes having a ‘no go zone’ around the area the ramps lower to
  • ensured no workers would be alone in remote areas without phone contact or access to emergency assistance. It has bought satellite phones and personal satellite GPS messengers.

What can you do?

Here are some relevant codes of practice that have practical guidance to help you prevent this happening in your workplace.

If you need further help understanding plant safety or managing safety in your workplace, talk to our Helpline or request a free visit from one of our Safety Advisors.