Melbourne worker dies after forklift tips

·1-min read

A stonemason has died after being crushed by a forklift at a factory in Melbourne's north, as a solar installer was handed a hefty fine for multiple worksite safety breaches.

The forklift was being operated on a sloping driveway at the Somerton factory on Tuesday when it tipped and crushed a worker standing nearby.

The 25-year-old stonemason was killed and WorkSafe are investigating the incident, the watchdog confirmed on Wednesday.

It comes after solar panel installer Global Renewable Energy Solutions was on Monday found guilty of five workplace safety breaches at sites across Victoria and ordered to pay $500,000 in fines.

Werribee Magistrates Court heard three workers were installing a solar electrical system on a 4.5-metre high Werribee South shed in June 2019 when one of them fell through a skylight to the concrete floor below.

The worker fractured his spine and pelvis, and spent more than a week in hospital.

WorkSafe found there was no perimeter guardrail on the roof or fall protection around the skylight, none of the workers were using a safety harness and a "method statement" did not identify skylights were in the roof.

It also ruled Global Renewable Energy Solutions had engaged in unsafe practices at four other rooftop solar installation sites at Cobram, Truganina, Newham and Corio that same year.

Andrew Keen, WorkSafe's executive director of health and safety, said the company had shown a continued disregard for its workers' safety.

"This case should serve as a wake-up call to any employer that thinks it can put profits above the safety of its workers," Mr Keen said in a statement on Wednesday.

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