There’s risks in every workplace, from the job site to the warehouse. Forklift safety must be a priority wherever they’re operated. There’s too many horror stories out there regarding deaths and accidents to leave anything to chance.
The human element
By law, all forklift operators must hold a high-risk work licence and obey the traffic laws at the worksite. This means giving way to pedestrians, stopping where signed, and travelling at a low speed.
Managing risk becomes easier when safe measures simply become a habit. Forklift operators must go through a battery of pre-operation checks at the beginning of their shift. Mandatory inspection before starting the forklift includes:
- Checking the tyres for cracks or low pressure
- No fluid leakage
- The hydraulics are in good condition
- The capacity data plate is working
There’s only so much the operator can do before the professionals get called in. When companies rent forklifts, container handlers, or any other piece of equipment they receive servicing from specialised mechanics. They’ll complete regular maintenance like fluid changes, and less regular jobs like fitting the accessories.
Look before you cross
Queensland Workplace Health and Safety pointed out the risks pedestrians face when there’s a lack of ‘separation’ between them and the forklifts in operation. Their recommendation? Put an ‘adequate traffic management system’ in place that separates the two. One idea is installing walkways, as seen below.
But not all warehouses and companies will have the time or money to implicate measures like this. Another example WH&S gave was ‘pedestrian calming areas’. These are essentially barriers marking road space. Pedestrian gates are installed every few hundred meters and serves as a reminder to look before crossing.
This is one of the basic ways to manage and mitigate risks on the worksite. Large and clear signs should be placed in key points around the warehouse/worksite. Necessary ones include:
- Speed limit
- Safety gear
- Live power
- Chemical warnings