Police were called to an engineering compound in the Hunter Valley region on March 12 after an accident involving a forklift and a sandblaster claimed a man’s life.
Initial reports indicate that the incident took place at an industrial facility in Muswellbrook at around 15:40 when the victim – a 42-year-old man – was working on the body of a heavy mining truck.
While the details are still the subject of investigations, it appears that a forklift was carrying a load of sandblasting equipment nearby when it became unstable and fell off the vehicle.
The impact of the heavy plant delivered a number of crushing injuries to the man, who reportedly died at the scene.
Several of his co-workers rushed to his aid, beginning CPR and attempting to free him from the heavy load while emergency services were en route.
It is not clear if the equipment was secured at the time of the accident, or if the victim was aware of the hazard it posed.
Emergency services closed off the site of the incident for a number of hours to allow investigators from WorkCover NSW to examine the scene.
This meant that the victim’s body remained at the site for some time while a crime scene was established by police and officials.
In cases where a hazard presents an obvious risk to personnel, the employer has a duty of care under section 8 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 to ensure “…that systems of work and the working environment of the employees are safe and without risks to health”.
It should be noted that in this case the details of the circumstances surrounding the accident have yet to be unveiled by the relevant authorities, making any speculation on the outcome of WorkCover’s investigation highly premature.
However, if a firm is found to have breached this requirement, they may be fined by the industrial court and the victim – or their family, should a death have occurred- may be able to apply for payments with the assistance of a compensation lawyer.
Use of these qualified professionals is not restricted to major workplace accidents – they can also be of assistance in cases for back injury compensation, strains and other incidents that can be recovered from in time.
The funds made available through these channels can be used to pay for medical treatments and rehabilitation therapies that may be able to assist in the healing process.