Mistakes must be learnt from says WorkSafe after a freight company was sentenced in the Auckland District Court last week.

PBT Transport Limited was fined $250,000 following an incident in September 2016 where a worker sustained back injuries, after the freight cage he was working in fell three metres from forklift tines. Two similar incidents had occurred at other PBT Transport sites and WorkSafe says PBT Transport should have used these incidents to significantly improve their processes.

WorkSafe’s investigation into the incident found that the freight cage did not comply with industry standards and had not been attached to the forklift correctly. It also found that while PBT Transport had safety systems documented, they were not being implemented in the day to day running of the business and workers were not being appropriately communicated with.

WorkSafe’s Head of Specialist Interventions Simon Humphries said this wasn’t the first time PBT Transport had had issues with freight cages falling from forklift tines, with similar incidents occurring in 2009 and just a month earlier.

“It was reasonably practicable for PBT Transport Ltd to ensure the freight cage they used complied with industry standards and that only trained, competent, and authorised workers should be using the freight cage and forklift.

“If you have a system in place – use it and when things go wrong – learn from your mistakes before another life is put at risk.”


  • A fine of $250,000 was imposed.
  • Reparation of $20,000 was ordered.
  • PBT Transport Limited was sentenced under sections 36(1)(a), 48(1), and (2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
    • Being a PCBU failed to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers who worked for the PCBU, while workers were at work in the business or undertaking, namely using a freight cage to unload freight.
  • The maximum penalty is a fine not exceeding $1,500,000.

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