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Linfox convicted, fined $170k for preventable danger

Linfox accused of inadequately training truck driver, who was seriously injured when mezzanine deck collapsed on him

March 19, 2010

Linfox has been forced to fork out more than $200,000 after a trailer collapsed on one of its drivers, amid claims the operator neglected proper training standards.

The Melbourne Magistrates Court this week upheld claims from WorkSafe Victoria that Linfox could have prevented its truck driver suffering serious injuries from using an adjustable mezzanine floor in the truck’s trailer in 2006.

The court was told the driver asked a forklift operator for help lifting the adjustable floor into place. During the lifting process one of the support posts became detached, causing the rear floor of the trailer to collapse onto the driver.

He was treated in hospital for 12 days for injuries including a broken arm and leg, a fractured shoulder, broken ribs, and a torn knee ligament.

As well as being convicted and fined $170,000, Linfox was also ordered to pay WorkSafe’s $41,270 court costs.

WorkSafe Acting Executive Director for Health and Safety Stan Krpan says the agency’s investigation into the incident revealed a lack of training, instruction and equipment for drivers and other employees who needed to adjust trailer floors.

“This is a large operator that has nearly 5,000 vehicles across 11 countries – working with adjustable trailer floors will be part of the job for many of their employees,” Krpan says.

“The bottom line is that people should not be in a position where they’re working, unprotected, under suspended floor panels.”

While taking a shot at Linfox’s approach to training, Krpan also warned other companies.

“We would expect Linfox – and other large companies which have considerable resources – to make safety a high priority at all levels of their operations,” he says.

The workplace watchdog has prosecuted Linfox twice previously for health and safety incidents.

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