23 Dec 2015

Forklift driver who died at work had no training

5:58 am on 23 December 2015

A warehouse worker was killed after a Japanese food importer allowed its staff to drive forklifts with no training.

Tokyo Food Company has been ordered to pay almost $130,000 over the death of Daisuke Yokoyama in Lower Hutt on 9 March.

It pleaded guilty in the Lower Hutt District Court to one charge under the Health and Safety Employment Act for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employee.

Mr Yokoyama badly injured his torso and later died after being trapped between a racking unit and the console of his forklift at a warehouse in Gracefield.

WorkSafe chief inspector Keith Stewart said the business failed to ensure all staff were trained to drive forklifts.

Mr Yokoyama "paid the ultimate price" for the wholesaler's failure to meet basic workplace safety, Mr Stewart said.

"The company also had no safety management system in place for identifying and assessing hazards, and had no established safety rules or hazard controls in relation to using forklifts and other tasks carried out in a warehouse."

The company was fined $52,000 and was ordered to give the worker's family $76,994 in compensation.

Tokyo Food Company has warehouses and brands across New Zealand and Australia, operating a number of businesses, including JapanMart and Tokyo Liquor.

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