Forklift Safety – Is it Wise or a Waste?

Forklift safety is often a low priority despite forklifts being one of the most hazardous workplace vehicles.
Forklifts continue to be a significant source of accidents in the workplace.

Unfortunately, the forklift’s ease and simplicity of use make them an accident waiting to happen. Workers with even the most basic machine skills can quickly “jump on and get something moved”.
This ease of operation and accessibility can even cause the viewing of forklift safety as “for pussies”.

This view, of course, quickly ends when a serious incident occurs such as the horror accident in March 2019.
A worker suffered severely crushed legs after being struck by a reversing forklift in the loading bay of a factory. He had entered the loading bay on foot while the forklift was transporting materials.

Forklift Safety Fails Have Wide-Ranging Causes

Causes of forklift-related accidents range from inadequate forklift safety training to intentional misuse such as in this fiasco;

The absence of a relevant forklift safe operating procedure is also up there in the cause. In addition, there’s a noticeable absence of auditing measures.

There’s a whole range of requirements that need to be in place to ensure safe forklift operation and its a challenge for many businesses.
For example, there should be a current risk assessment in place. Risk assessments are the most effective way to identify potential hazards that can maim or kill people.
We need to know, as far as possible, where these hazards are hiding and what is the risk. The risk is the likelihood of them happening and the consequences if they do.

Many Accidents Prevented by Assessing Risk

The risk assessment forewarns us of life-threatening hazards. Additionally, its a means of designing control measures to either eliminate the hazard or reduce the risk.

In the accident described above, a risk assessment may have identified a machine to human collision hazard.
Control measures, such as temporary or permanent barricades around human traffic areas may have prevented the accident.
There’s infinitely more potential for preventing hazards by diligently looking at the process and identifying them BEFORE work commences.

A worker had his legs crushed in the incident above. It could easily have been much worse. However, unforeseen consequences don’t stop at the accident.
The worker’s family will suffer in many ways, and the business owner has to live with this accident.
The owner may also face significant financial losses from fines, penalties and increased insurance premiums.
Even the business’s customers may well view the operation as less than professional.

Up To Date Forklift Safe Operating Procedures

Businesses also need to have up to date, relevant forklift safe operating procedures.
Furthermore, it won’t do, either practically or legally, to have these hidden in a filing cabinet somewhere. Procedures must be instantly accessible and contain pre and post-operational checks.

With Simple Worksafe, you can quickly create a procedure and check it with the people who know the process involved. A QR coded label can then be printed and adhered to the forklift.
Scanning the QR code with a phone will bring the procedure up immediately.

Training and VOCs

Failing to provide adequate forklift safety training is another noticeable aspect of companies prosecuted for forklift accidents.
It’s again due to the simplicity of these machines that training is often inadequate. Training needs to accomplish more than just how to start the forklift and make it go forward or backwards.

A VOC or Verification of Competency must also accompany any training. A VOC is where a competent person certifies that the worker is fully able to operate the machine.

Service and Maintenance Critical.

Poorly maintained brakes and hydraulics have contributed to a fair share of accidents and business owner prosecutions.

These health and safety measures require management if a business is to provide a safe environment for its workers effectively. Furthermore, good management is protection. It not only helps ensure everything complies with the law, but it can be proved!

It All Comes Down to Management!

Health and safety require a high degree of management these days as businesses become sitting ducks for smart lawyers just waiting to poke holes in their safety system.

At Simple WorkSafe, we solve this management problem by providing an application that links and synchronises every aspect of health and safety, especially where forklift safety is concerned.