This guide will help you hold toolbox talks with your workers about the three main causes of forklift deaths and serious injuries in NSW, which are:
1. pedestrians being hit by a forklift
2. pedestrians or drivers being hit by the load a forklift is carrying or lifting
3. drivers being crushed in a tip-over.
When it comes to working safely around forklifts, businesses are responsible for the health and safety of workers, contractors, volunteers, and any visitors to your site.
By law you must:
• identify and act on any potential hazards
• put systems in place for the safe use of forklifts
• provide suitable information, training, instruction or supervision to keep workers safe
• notify SafeWork NSW of all serious injuries/illnesses and dangerous incidents.
We have resources and guides about working safely with forklifts, which can downloaded free from the SafeWork NSW website www.safework.nsw.gov.au or by calling 13 10 50.
These three toolbox talks will help you to start a safety conversation with your workers about forklifts.
You should always encourage and support safety behaviour in your workplace, and get serious about forking safety.
Preparation for the talk
Make sure you have internet access (ie phone or tablet) to show our forklift safety video
Get a suitable lifting attachment (if you have one) and a forklift ready for the practical exercise
Loads are more likely to fall from a forklift if the driver does not make sure they are stable on the pallet e.g. shrink wrapped, short and squat or secured to provide stability, or if the driver tries to move a load that would be better suited to an attachment. Before using an attachment, operators must check that the forklift capacity plate names the attachment and also look for the new capacity of the forklift, when the attachment is fitted. Note: Fitting an attachment will usually de-rate the capacity of the forklift.
A forklift operator was asked to move a 44 gallon drum of engine oil from one side of the workshop to another. The operator asked his co-worker to give him a hand. The co-worker tilted the drum back just enough for the forklift operator to place the tynes (forks) underneath the drum.
The operator then lifted the drum up, and drove in a forward direction while the co-worker placed his hands on the drum to steady it as he walked alongside the forklift.
The forklift then rolled on to a speed hump that the operator didn’t see, because the load was raised too high and the drum started to slide off the tynes.
The co-worker yelled out to the operator to stop as he tried to stop the drum from sliding off. The falling drum was too heavy for the co-worker, so he let it go.
The drum fell and landed on him, causing serious ankle and foot injuries.
- Used a suitable lifting attachment such as a drum lifter
- Not placed the drum directly on to the tines/forks
- Travelled with the drum as low to the ground as possible
- Not tried to steady the load by hand
- Not allowed anyone to be in close proximity of the drum or forklift
- Travelled in reverse – the drum may obscure the operators view of things such as speed humps or other obstacles
- Decanted the oil into smaller containers or into a specialised container that can be lifted on the tines, for example a stillage bin
Demonstrate the advantages of using a drum lifter or other suitable attachment, over placing a load directly onto the tines/forks.
Was this exercise completed?
OR: Ask your operators if they can identify anything in your workplace that would be better suited to use an attachment ie extension tynes (slippers), drum handlers, jibs, bin lifters, grabs, carpet spikes, carton clamps.
Was this exercise completed?
It’s important to remember that working safely in and around forklifts is everyone’s responsibility
Is there anything that we could be doing better in our workplace in relation to ensuring we only move stable loads, or use an attachment when needed?
Any other notes / suggestions?