WorkCover NSW is urging all businesses and workers to take extreme care while using forklifts following a number of serious incidents in which workers have had forklift loads fall on to them.
Businesses and workers should ensure they take adequate safety precautions when working with and around forklifts and pedestrians, according to the general manager of WorkCover’s work health and safety division, John Watson.
“Incidents involving forklifts are avoidable and constant attention must be paid when working with and around them,” he said.
“During 2010 974 workers were injured in incidents involving forklifts,” said Watson, who noted that a 42-year-old male worker was killed on 11 March at a Muswellbrook engineering plant when a load being carried on a forklift reportedly fell on him.
There were a number of actions businesses and workers could take to improve safety when working on and around forklifts.
“Before lifting a load, the weight, size, shape and composition of a load should be considered, along with the terrain that the forklift will be travelling over,” Watson said.
“Additionally, the suitability of the forklift to handle and transport the load should be assessed.”
Loads must only be lifted, carried and stored in a manner that ensures stability at all times, according to Watson, who said that only purpose-made lifting and handling attachments sanctioned by the manufacturer should be used.
“Loads must never be lifted over people. Where loads are slung from an approved jib attachment, appropriate systems to control the movement of the load while it is being transported should be in place,” he said.
“When carrying loads avoid sudden or heavy braking that could cause the load to slide forward.”