Qld prioritises safety of forklift users with new initiative

Thursday, 10 August, 2023

Qld prioritises safety of forklift users with new initiative

With over 700 forklift-related injuries occurring every year in Queensland, WorkCover has demonstrated its commitment to safety with the launch of the Harmful Equipment (Forklifts) Injury Risk Reduction Initiative. The initiative is a pilot that aims to support employers and workers in the North Queensland region who have experienced or are likely to experience injuries due to forklift use.

North Queensland family-owned business Red Valley Farms, which produces bananas, has joined the program after its successful work with around a dozen North Queensland enterprises. An occupational health and safety (OH&S) consultant conducted a safety review of Red Valley Farms based on its existing forklift equipment and practices.

WorkCover Head of Partnerships Sharon Stratford said after the safety review, the project trials researched risk mitigation strategies including technological assistance for small to medium-sized businesses with an aim to improve safety. If successful, the pilot program will be used for a wider rollout across the state.

The current phase of the trials involves re-evaluating the interventions used onsite to work more efficiently. In the next phase, the OH&S consultant will work with two farms, the banana farm and a cotton farm, to understand the forklift safety challenges experienced in rural operations, and then transfer learnings from the previous trials to support the rural sector with injury risk reduction strategies.

The OH&S consultant, Emma Wyhoon, said previous data she collected will be used in the 2023 pilot currently running in the two farms, adding that there are many potential positive outcomes that might arise from the pilot program. “This is a real opportunity to reduce the risk of workplace injuries and improve safety culture. We look forward to seeing the results of this program and sharing them more broadly,” Wyhoon said.

Image credit: iStock.com/simonkr

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