SafeWork NSW issues Port Botany incident report

Operators advised to consider control measures in wake of September’s fatality

SafeWork NSW issues Port Botany incident report
SafeWork NSW image of an empty container handler similar to the one involved in the incident


Workplace health and safety authority SafeWork NSW has issued an incident report corresponding to the fatal incident at Sydney’s Port Botany in late September.

It notes a 67-year-old man suffered fatal injuries when crushed between containers at the port.

"He was working near a forklift carrying a 12-metre long shipping container, when the container hit a stationary container, causing it to slide and trap the man between it and a nearby stack of containers."

SafeWork NSW inspectors responded to the incident and the authority commenced an investigation to determine its cause and circumstances.

The incident report advises operators to consider ‘reasonably practicable’ control measures to manage the risk of lifting and transporting shipping containers.

"Businesses are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety in accordance with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017," it says.

Steps include making sure:

  • the site has adequate space and light to operate plant safely around the containers
  • the environmental conditions – heat, cold, rain, wind, ventilation – don’t hinder safety
  • exclusion zones are established and maintained around containers and mobile plant, to protect workers from falling objects and moving plant - as set out in your traffic management plan
  • plant and equipment is fit for purpose, inspected and properly maintained, in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations
  • operators are competent and hold the relevant high risk work licence for the work they are doing, such as the operating reach stackers, forklifts or cranes.

The operator at the facility, Tyne ACFS, has been cooperating with authorities.

"Tyne ACFS management would like to sincerely thank industry for its support and well wishes during this most difficult period," it said in a communique via the Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) at the time.


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