Forklifts offer department stores, warehouses, factories, freight terminals and other workplaces a practical materials handling solution for lifting, stacking and transferring loads. While they contribute to the day-to-day business activities, they also contribute to workplace deaths and injuries across Australia, resulting in both human and financial costs.
In Tasmania last year, a man was left a quadriplegic when the load fell off a forklift and caused him catastrophic and permanent injuries. Also last year, a Canning Vale freight company in Western Australia was found guilty for “failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment” when an employee was injured by a reversing forklift.
Like with other workplace deaths and injuries, many forklift incidents could have been prevented through stronger and tighter cooperation between employers and their employees to ensure adequate health and safety standards at work. Everyone on site or operating forklifts should learn how to spot, manage and address any risk related to forklifts operation.
Training is available to help operators build their skills, gain more confidence to work with forklifts, and understand how they work and what could happen if care is not taken.
An operator should also know that even when they’re driving the forklift slowly, they can still cause damage to objects around them, or hurt other employees and even pedestrians.
Both employers and employees should not wait until someone has been hurt or killed to get training. Safe systems should be put in place before anything happens, and they should include risk management and operator training.
Another thing to consider is training audits, which involve assessing the number of hours of training forklift operators have undertaken, their knowledge of the capabilities of forklifts and how confident they are in managing and operating forklifts. Through training they would receive certification for competency as evidence that they can work with forklifts without endangering their colleagues and themselves.
Any unqualified trainees should be encouraged to apply for training early. Our online VOC course for forklift operators covers the details of the job role including operating the forklift, loading, moving and landing materials, as well as current industry regulations. For more information about our courses, contact us today for a chat.