Forklifts still in WorkSafe sights


Despite a swath of prosecutions for unsafe forklift and storage practices, WorkSafe’s latest blitz has shown the issue refuses to disappear

By Rob McKay | September 15, 2010

Despite a swath of prosecutions for unsafe forklift and storage practices, WorkSafe’s latest blitz has shown the issue refuses to disappear.

The organisation’s Victorian arm undertook a five-day campaign in Melton on Melbourne’s western fringe early last month, the results of which were released yesterday.

More than 200 breaches of occupational health and safety rules were identified, that also included including unsecured racking and unsafe storage of dangerous goods, after 206 firms were visited.

Part of the Safer Work Zones effort, the campaign saw 203 improvement notices issued.

"Although we wrote to the businesses and told them we would be visiting, we still had to pull them up on high number of health and safety issues," WorkSafe manufacturing and logistics director Ross Pilkington says.

"If you're not talking to your staff about health and safety, it's eventually going to catch up with you. Losing workers to avoidable injuries can have a big impact on the productivity of a small business.

"It's in your best interests to fix the issues identified by our inspectors - and, of course, inspectors will be back to check that improvements have been made."

Inspectors particularly noticed unsafe issues around forklift operations, including operators not wearing seatbelts, keys being left in ignitions when the forklift was out of use, and operators’ certificates of competencies not being upgraded.

Other health and safety issues identified by inspectors included: unsafe storage of dangerous goods; lack of inspection and testing of service electrical equipment; inadequate guarding of equipment and plant; incomplete first aid kits; lack of maintenance of lifting equipment; unsafe manual handling/lifting practices; portable fire extinguishers and hose reels out of date on testing requirements; and steel storage racking not secured to floor area, missing safety clips, and lacking load charts displays.

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