WorkSafe warning after man run over by forklift

Tuesday, 15 September, 2009

A business in south-east Melbourne has been ordered to improve safety practices after a man received serious leg injuries after being hit by a forklift recently.

The man was walking beside a forklift carrying 660 kg of stone cladding and balancing it when he tripped. The forklift did not stop in time and the man was hit. He was taken to hospital where he had surgery to his leg.

WorkSafe has issued a safety improvement notice requiring changes to work practices.

WorkSafe’s Executive Director, John Merritt, said separating pedestrians and forklifts was a basic safety issue often ignored in workplaces: “This is not hard. Loads must be properly secured so that people do not need to balance them. There is no shortage of fatalities or serious and permanent injuries caused by loads falling from forklifts or pedestrians being hit by these machines.

“If you have a problem meeting this obligation, consult the workforce, use some of WorkSafe’s forklift safety guidance material or call the advisory service.

“WorkSafe inspectors are active in workplaces where forklifts are used and this presence will increase in the lead-up to Christmas. We are serious about reducing the number of deaths and injuries in Victorian workplaces and we expect employers and workers to be too.”

Forklift safety information can be found at www.worksafe.vic.gov.au. Forklift drivers should also check that they have a current licence to perform high risk work. The licence replaces the old Certificate of Competency or ticket. The licence is renewed every five years and can be used nationally. It is intended to ensure skills levels are maintained and to reduce the incidence of fraud.

Old certificates issued before 31 March 1995 have now expired and must be renewed. You can check to see when your ticket expires at WorkSafe’s website.

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