Total permanent disability claims can wreak havoc on the financial situations of companies, and sometimes all it takes is one accident that happens in a flash to cause these problems.
One company in New South Wales is currently experiencing this problem first hand, and the forklift accident that happened at its workplace, involving an employee, could become a serious TPD claim it could have avoided.
A bakery in Broken Hill and one transport company have already been fined a total of $130,000, a report from WorkCover NSW shows, in regards to the incident that left one forklift worker in a serious condition in 2007.
The accident occurred on April 13 when forklift operator William McMaster was delivering a load of bread to the bakery. During the delivery, he used the forklift to load trolleys of bread and move them from the truck to the store.
The daily activity took a turn for the worse when Mr McMaster parked the vehicle on an incline and walked down the ramp, after which the industrial machine rolled down and struck him.
The accident caused McMaster to suffer serious injuries to his lower back, abdomen and pelvis. The ensuing investigation, conducted by WorkCover NSW, showed that the lift's brakes were not in working order.
Where the TPD claims could be aimed
Mr McMaster worked for transport company Levira Pty Ltd, and was delivering the bread to a bakery owned by McLeod's Traditional Pty Ltd. Because of the nature of the accident, both companies have been held responsible for McMaster's injuries.
"This incident occurred because McLeod’s Traditional Pty Ltd did not secure the faulty forklift to prevent it from being used and because Levira Pty Ltd did not train its drivers to check forklifts before operating them," said John Watson, general manager of WorkCover’s Work Health and Safety Division.
"Machinery like forklifts should be the subject of periodic inspections with preventative maintenance systems in place so that the risk of serious injury or death is substantially reduced."
Mr Watson added that Levira should have provided the necessary methods for its workers to load and unload items from its trucks. This would have included a safe work methods statement, the right equipment and better training for its drivers.
Those who have been injured in such accidents may want to contact compensation lawyers to determine what legal action can be taken.