Vic forklift operator fired over YouTube stunt

In addition to losing his job and forklift licence, Matthew Gerry Ward, 20, has been ordered to carry out 50 hours of community work and complete a five-day health and safety course.Ward has also been made to pay WorkSafe’s court costs of $1200 by Seymour Magistrate Caitlin English.The court was told that Ward was employed by Australasian Pipeline & Pre-Cast Pty Ltd which makes reinforced concrete pipes at Kilmore. The clip, which has now been removed, was on YouTube for nearly two months when it was seen by his boss in July last year. Ward was later sacked for misconduct.WorkSafe told the court Ward was not wearing a seatbelt and put himself at risk of serious injury or death. WorkSafe executive director of health and safety John Merritt said forklifts were among the most dangerous pieces of equipment in Victorian workplaces – accounting for 56 fatalities since 1985, including 19 forklift drivers. Merritt said unless forklifts were used correctly the consequences were often serious, especially if a seatbelt was not used and the machine tipped.“In this case, the young man has put himself at risk, and while he suffered no physical injury has had to face legal and other consequences which had ongoing consequences,” he said.“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.”Merritt said that posting such stunts on YouTube was highly irresponsible and encouraged other people to do the same thing, putting them at risk as well.

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