New Zealand’s Department of Labour (DoL) has released a statement that illustrates a classic scenario for forklift safety. According to the statement :
“The employee was walking in a freezer when he was hit from behind by a forklift carrying a 10-carton-high pallet of packed meat. The Department’s investigation showed the height of the load impeded the driver’s view and contributed to the incident.
The employee’s hip and thigh were fractured. He was in hospital for three weeks and has only recently returned to full-time work.”
The incident occurred in April 2009 with the company being fined $NZ34,000. There are several control measures that could have applied in this circumstance. DoL mentions
- perhaps reducing the pallet size or,
- have the forklift driven in reverse.
But by far the most effective would have been to restrict pedestrian access to the areas where forklifts operate. In many workplaces, forklift areas are simply pedestrian no-go zones or there are secure separation barriers between pedestrian walkways and forklift traffic zones.
There a re many forklift safety codes and guidances available in most Western jurisdictions. Below is a quick selection:
Canada – Common Factors in Forklift Accidents
England: Use forklift trucks safely