Ride on forklift crash – legal case

Verdict summary – Shane Brown v Pencon Australia Pty Ltd – S CI 2015 05568

I was involved in a case recently about a ride-on stand-up reach fork truck or more often called in Australia a forklift.  This type of truck is typically used in warehousing.


“On 6 June 2017, a civil jury of six found that an employer was not liable for an injury … he sustained while operating a stand-up forklift. The plaintiff alleged that his foot slipped from the forklift pedal and became crushed between the forklift and the wall of the employer’s premises….

It was alleged that the employer was liable in both negligence and for breach of statutory duty (the Occupational Health & Safety Regulations 2007) in relation to, among other things, its failure to provide a safe system of work and allowing the plaintiff to operate the forklift in wet conditions.

The jury found that there was no negligence on the part of the defendant which caused injury to the plaintiff. The jury also found that there was no breach of statutory duty on the part of the defendant.”

A jury does not give its reasons.  The summary is here.

Among the issues relevant to ride on fork trucks are:

  • ride on fork trucks are generally “one wheel drive”
  • this wheel also provides the braking
  • deceleration is by reversing the motor
  • braking is by a conventional brake operated in reverse (normally applied but deactivated by standing on the pedal)
  • speed and braking standards of forklifts (e.g. US standard B56.1)
  • the trucks generally do not have a door

About John Culvenor

Hi, Thank you for taking a look at this blog. I work in engineering, ergonomics, creativity, design, training, etc. Often this is about helping solve legal puzzles through accident analysis. Sometimes it is about thinking up better designs for equipment, workplaces, and systems. This blog is about good design and bad design, accident analysis and how it can be done better, and how we can make a better, safer world by design!
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3 Responses to Ride on forklift crash – legal case

  1. rodcurrey says:

    No determinations, no recommendations, no improvements, no control suggestions, no one is responsible……so the safe system of work is safe?…..act of God maybe?

  2. That’s a catch with the jury system isn’t it? Learning is not captured. I wonder how it could be reformed to gain better knowledge?

  3. rodcurrey says:

    So what would be the determination if the incident reoccurs with the same same safe system of work? Groundhog Day?

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