A warehouse forklift driver sacked for failing to follow safety procedures has been awarded $29,164.57 as compensation for his unfair dismissal.

His employer, ISS Integrated Services had previously recorded workplace incidents that resulted in serious permanent injury to one of its forklift drivers. As a result, it adopted a zero tolerance approach to breach of its safety requirements.

On 25 and 26 October 2016, Andrew Cornish, the applicant employee in Cornish v ISS Integrated Services [2017] FWC 1455, failed to obtain forklift keys from a truck driver and failed to provide that truck driver with a ‘hit not’ device in exchange for the keys, in breach of the company’s procedures. The next day, he was seen using a mobile phone whilst driving the forklift.

Mr Cornish was stood down on pay whilst the matter was investigated and then summarily terminated for serious misconduct.

Despite his actions posing a serious risk to the health and safety of himself and his co-workers, the Fair Work Commission found that Mr Cornish’s actions warranted a first warning, rather than a sacking.

Mr Cornish had been employed by ISS for over six and a half years and had an otherwise unblemished safety record.

ISS was found to have lacked a valid reason for the termination and was ordered to pay the equivalent of 23.25 weeks’ pay to Mr Cornish.

Every employer wants to protect its employees, but first they must protect themselves. To prevent an unfair dismissal order being made against your business, speak to one of the workplace lawyers at Nevett Ford about doing things the right way for everyone involved.