3 Forklift Hazards In The Workplace and How to Avoid them
Forklift hazards are where reasonably practicable, should be eliminated from the workplace, or substituted with other suitable load shifting equipment. If this is not reasonably practicable, the risks associated with using forklifts must be reduced, using engineering or administrative controls, such as traffic management plans.
Once risk controls are in place they must be regularly reviewed, especially when an incident occurs or there is a change in work practices. These practises should be in line with regulation 121 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations).
1. Operating Forklifts on Inclines
Forklifts are designed to be operated on flat, hard, level surfaces, not inclines, slopes or ramps.
If there is no other option than to operate a forklift on an incline, carefully consider the nature of the load being handled.
When operating a forklift on an incline, at a minimum the load must be tilted back and raised only as far as needed to clear the road surface. Inclines should not be greater than 10 degrees or as specified by the manufacturer.
2. Forklift Hazards Carrying Loads and Attachments
Prior to moving a load, consider the most appropriate load shifting equipment for the job. A forklift may not be the best option.
Forklifts with attachments are often used to carry non-palletised goods.
Before using a forklift with an attachment to move a load, it is important to ensure:
- The attachment is capacity rated to lift and carry the load.
- The forklift’s load capacity is de-rated to take into account the weight of the attachment. The increase in load centre and the swing of the load (this must be detailed of the load capacity plate).
- A forklift with jib can only operated on a hard, flat, level surface.
- There are no pedestrians in the vicinity, or an exclusion zone is present if it is not reasonably practicable to operate without pedestrians nearby.
- The operator is trained in the use of the jib attachment.
- The jib is only used for infrequent tasks. Alternative load shifting equipment should be considered for regular load shifting of the above products.
Never exceed the rated capacity of the forklift.
When long loads are handled by a forklift it is important to consider:
- Steel carried on steel fork arms (tynes) is very slippery.
- Raising long loads over obstructions and through doorways increases the risk of the load becoming unstable.
- Long loads can easily shift and fall or cause the forklift to overturn.
3. A Worker Crushed by Overturned Forklift
A forklift that is overturned can not only cause the operator to become trapped, but it can also cause other workers harm. Unstable loads can cause forklifts to tip, or the load may fall, crushing nearby workers or the operator.
Workers are most commonly struck when they’re in the blind spots of the forklift operators. Other causes are when there is overcrowding on the warehouse floor or a poor warehouse layout. Blind spots in the warehouse layout and speed are most commonly recognised for creating Forklift Hazards.
We provide Forklift Training at Dandenong, Seaford and Thomastown.
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