Logistics firm fined $80,000 over accident where forklift ran over worker's legs

The employee was walking within the premises when a forklift driver reversed into him and knocked him over.
The employee was walking within the premises when a forklift driver reversed into him and knocked him over.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF MANPOWER

SINGAPORE - A logistics company has been fined $80,000 for workplace safety and health breaches that led to an accident where a man was run over by a forklift.

The incident happened on Jan 6 in 2015, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a statement on Tuesday (Sept 26).

An employee of THT Logistics, Mr Chua Kiang Lik, was given the task of unloading cargo from a container.

During one of his breaks, he was walking within the premises when a forklift driver also employed there reversed his forklift into Mr Chua and knocked him over.

The forklift's left rear wheel ran over his legs. He was taken to Alexandra Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a closed ankle fracture and had to go for multiple procedures.

The forklift driver had checked both the right and left sides of the forklift for people before reversing, investigations revealed.

However, the view of the left side was obscured by a column, and he could not see if there was anyone behind it.

Because of this obscured view, the driver reversed into Mr Chua.

Investigations also revealed that THT Logistics had failed to perform adequate risk assessment, and develop and implement any safe work procedures for forklift operators within its premises, MOM said.

THT Logistics was fined $80,000 on Monday for the breaches.

MOM's director of Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate Chan Yew Khong said that THT Logistics "did not carry out proper risk assessment and failed to implement adequate control measures for the safe operation of forklifts at its workplace" as an employer.

He added that clearly demarcated pathways for workers and designated routes for forklifts were not provided to mitigate the risk of being hit by moving forklifts.

Vehicular-related incidents have been the No. 1  cause of workplace fatalities in the past three years.

Last year, 22 workers were hit and killed by moving vehicles, a 47 per cent increase from 2014.

In the first half of this year, there were 379 injuries and seven fatalities caused by vehicle-related incidents, with vehicular-related accidents remaining the top cause of fatalities this year.

MOM said it will continue to inspect vehicular operations at workplaces, even as the Workplace Safety and Health Council steps up its outreach to the logistics and transport sector through the "Managing Onsite Vehicular Safety" programme.