Forklift truck safety - inaction unacceptable

Sunday, 30 May, 2004

Victorian President of the Safety Institute of Australia, Geoff Dell has called on all businesses to review their practices regarding the operation of forklift trucks.

"Inaction is unacceptable," Dell said. "WorkSafe Victoria statistics show that there have been 6000 forklift related injuries in Victoria alone between January 1985 to the start of 2004. Fifty of these resulted in deaths."

He said the research showed the main problem areas with forklift incidents involved the vehicle rolling or tipping over, crushing operators or pedestrians. He said forklifts were vulnerable to misuse and there was a myth that one size fitted all. "The biggest risks in the operations of forklifts are not well controlled in the design," he said. "Our research recommends a number of interventions including the standardisation of forklift control layout and limits to be placed on the lifting heights of all forklifts, depending upon the load." WorkSafe has been active in raising awareness of safety issues surrounding the use of forklifts, including a program of seminars across metropolitan and regional Victoria, an education pack and a zero-tolerance approach to inspections which has led to a number of prosecutions and charges being laid against employers.

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