In November 2008, WorkSafe Victoria prosecuted20-year-old Seymour man Matthew Garry Ward after he posted a video of himself doing stunts on a forklift on YouTube. He had been employed at the time by Australasian Pipeline & Pre-Cast Pty Ltd, which makes reinforced concrete pipes in Kilmore, Victoria.
The video, which has since been removed, was on YouTube for nearly two months and showed him deliberately crashing into concrete pipes, doing burnouts and overloading the machine so he could do wheelies. Mr Ward was later sacked for misconduct after Mr Ward?s boss saw the YouTube clip in July 2007.
Seymour magistrate Caitlin English convicted Mr Ward, ordered him to do 50 hours of unpaid community work, to complete a five-day occupational health and safety course and pay WorkSafe?s court costs of $1200.
WorkSafe told the court Mr Ward was not wearing a seatbelt which put him at risk of serious injury or death.
John Merritt, WorkSafe?s executive director of health and safety, said forklifts were among the most dangerous pieces of equipment in Victorian workplaces, accounting for 56 lives since 1985. Of these, 19 were forklift drivers.
Mr Merritt said unless forklifts were used correctly the consequences were often serious, especially if a seatbelt was not used and the machine tipped over.
?In this case, the young man has put himself at risk, and while he suffered no physical injury he has had to face legal and other consequences which had ongoing penalties.
?With WorkSafe currently running a campaign targeting young workers our message continues to be ?Don?t take unnecessary risks?.
?You might think you?re in control of the situation, but when something goes wrong, it will happen quickly, with little warning, often with permanent consequences.
?Posting stunts like this on YouTube encourages other people to do the same thing, putting them at risk as well.?
Mr Ward?s suspended forklift licence was cancelled after his guilty plea.
Source: WorkSafe Victoria