Source: Safety Concepts
Carolyn Kennedy (Project Manager, WorkSafe) tells us why forklifts and
people don't mix.
Even though fatalities involving forklifts have reduced significantly over
the past decade, incidents involving forklifts and pedestrians continue at
an unacceptably high rate - 143 between January 2010 and February 2011.
Around 80 per cent of these occurred in warehousing environments.
What employers must do
1. Ask 'are forklifts really necessary for the work to be done?' Could a
less hazardous alternative item of plant be used (eg hand or powered
pallet truck, electric tug, tow
2. Develop a traffic management plan for the workplace that includes:
consultation with all workers
policies and procedures
expectations for compliance (including disciplinary procedures)
monitoring and review of the plan.
3. Identify areas where forklifts and pedestrians could interact. A useful
approach is to use a map of the workplace to identify these areas in
consultation with health and safety representatives and
workers, and mark areas from high to low potential for interaction.
4. The 'three metre rule' is outdated. Employers need to assess forklift
operations to determine the actual separation distances and types of
barriers that will be needed, considering:
type of load being carried
forklift operating speeds
any physical barriers or electronic systems in place.
5. Based on the assessment of forklift operations, controls must be put in
place that physically separate pedestrians from areas of
forklift operation at all times so far as is reasonably
practicable. This can be achieved by:
permanent barriers (eg gates, fences, guardrails)
temporary barriers (eg removable bollards, fencing)
work scheduling to prevent pedestrians being in the area of operating
exclusion zones and safety zones
electronic systems to prevent pedestrian and forklift interaction (eg
proximity sensors, speed limiters, zoned detection
Painted lines on the ground are not an effective way to separate
pedestrians from operating forklifts.