Qld cracks down on forklift safety

Queensland employers urged to ensure they have safe work practices in place for the use of forklifts

June 2, 2010

Queensland employers have been urged to ensure they have safe work practices in place for the use of forklifts, including appropriate training for workers, following a spate of workplace injuries.

Industrial Relations Minister Cameron Dick says recent prosecutions by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland highlight the importance of training and risk management in preventing injuries and fatalities.

"In the past few weeks, several prosecutions over workplace forklift incidents have been resolved, with fines of up to $40,000 involved," he says.

"Another dozen or so incidents, including a recent fatality, are also the subject of investigations by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

"One of the recent prosecutions resulted from a fatality at a Geebung plumbing products business and another two incidents involved workers suffering serious crush injuries at incidents at Archerfield and near Ipswich.

"Even if forklifts are fitted with the appropriate safety devices, traffic management and risk assessment plans still need to be prepared and implemented."

Each year there are more than 1,600 worker’s compensation claims involving forklifts, Dick says.

"The largest number of claims comes from the transport industry but forklifts are used in hundreds of industries across the state, from manufacturing to agriculture," he says.

Dick adds that Workplace Health and Safety Queensland inspectors audit workplaces across the state, often targeting forklift operations.

"Inspectors cannot be everywhere, all the time, and that is why observing a few simple rules can help make forklift use safer," he says.

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