SafeWork NSW has launched a week-long forklift safety blitz after three workers were killed and more than 1,300 were injured in two years.
The blitz is part of SafeWork’s ‘Take forking seriously’ program aimed at reducing deaths and injuries from forklifts, and will see inspectors visit Sydney businesses to check they are meeting safety and licensing laws.
Between July 2014 and July 2016, 1,355 workers were injured in forklift incidents, which included three fatalities and cost the NSW workers compensation system more than $30.5 million.
Executive director of SafeWork NSW Peter Dunphy said too many workers were being injured and killed in incidents involving forklifts.
“Despite the inherent dangers of forklifts in the workplace, we strongly believe incidents can be reduced,” Mr Dunphy said.
“Inspectors will this week be checking Sydney businesses are complying with safety and licensing laws as well as outlining some of the support available to improve forklift safety.”
During 2017, four NSW businesses were prosecuted by SafeWork NSW and fined a total of $835,000 for incidents where workers were injured or killed by a forklift.
Truck driver Rami Eayla suffered a fractured leg when he was struck by glass panels that were not adequately restrained on a forklift operated by an unlicensed forklift driver at City Projects Pty Ltd.
Mr Dunphy said businesses should have a traffic management plan that separates pedestrians and vehicles to help prevent incidents.
“A traffic management plan should include signage, ‘no go’ zones, use of pedestrian walkways, and exclusion zones during loading and unloading.
“Businesses should also ensure forklift operators have a current and valid licence, and always wear a seat belt.
“At the end of the day, safety is everyone’s responsibility, so we hope this week’s blitz will send a strong message to workplaces and help prevent more workers from being injured or killed on the job.”