Warning to businesses: Workplaces are not playgrounds, especially during school holidays
The NSW Government is warning workplaces and kids to remain vigilant in the final days of school holidays after a business was convicted and fined in the Downing Centre Local Court for using a forklift to lift children up in a makeshift elevated work platform.
Sky Cool Pty Ltd was fined $6,000 in total for two offences, while the forklift driver was fined $1000 after video footage showed children being lifted using a forklift at a commercial site in Hornsby.
The footage showed two children, entering, being lifted, and exiting the bucket multiple times, while SafeWork confirmed the man did not possess a high risk licence to operate the forklift at the time of the incident.
The man was found to be operating a forklift with a makeshift bucket, made from a plastic bulk container with its top cut off, placed on the tines and used to move and store containers of material used by the business.
The Court noted the bucket used was uneven and lower than 900mm as recommended as a minimum by the Australian Standards. The court also noted that the children could have lost balance and fallen from the bucket, landing head first.
The prosecution comes while SafeWork Inspectors examine an incident which occurred on the 4th of July 2023 in Sydney’s northern beaches, where a child suffered serious injuries to their fingers after they were caught in a chain used to raise an industrial roller door during the school holidays.
Over the past three years, SafeWork has been notified of more than 1300 incidents involving children under the age of 18.
Quotes to be attributed to Sophie Cotsis, Minister for Work Health and Safety
“We are reminding businesses and parents they have obligations to supervise children especially around machinery, hazardous chemicals and other risks, there is zero tolerance to anyone who puts someone’s safety at risk at work”
“If you are a business where children may have access to your place of work, there needs to be protections in place to protect not just kids but all visitors to the workplace”
“We take workplace safety seriously in NSW, this is a warning to any workplace that there will be consequences for not following the rules”.