Enforcing Forklift Safety Procedures with a Traffic Management Plan

When some people think of a traffic management plan, they tend to think about strategies to prevent vehicles and people from colliding with each and causing injury. But what about machinery?

Forklifts are a common item of machinery that is used on a range of job sites. But because they can weigh over 4 tonnes, they have the capability to cause enormous harm.

Safe Work Australia statistics show that there were 34 fatalities in the transport, postal and warehousing industries alone in 2020 – industries that rely heavily on forklifts.

Here are some of the ways that you can mitigate the risks associated with this type of machinery, and prevent workplace incidents in the future.

What are the hazards of forklifts?

Around a quarter of all forklift, incidents are the result of the overturning, which can cause catastrophic injuries, merely because of their size and weight. Workers can also be struck, pinned or crushed by moving vehicles like this, causing enormous harm. While falling loads also have the capacity to cause injury and death. Finally, drivers can also sustain an injury if they fall or are propelled from their seat.

How can I improve my forklift safety?

There are two primary ways you can mitigate forklift safety: understanding the physical hazards and safety issues, and the operation and maintenance of these machines.

Keeping a stable work environment reduces the possibility of a vehicle overturning and this extends to balancing the loads and attachments as well. Operators need to stick to the mandated speed limits and be mindful not to brake too suddenly.

These machines need to be regularly inspected to ensure they are safe to operate. This should happen before they are used and everything needs to be checked. Inspiections should observe:

  • Tyres
  • Fluids
  • Seating
  • Lights
  • Horns
  • Capacity
  • Mast
  • Hydraulics
  • Hoses
  • Guards
  • Controls
  • Brakes.

Additionally, the engine needs to be regularly serviced and maintained.

Control measures and precautionary tasks to improve forklift safety

Prevention is always better than the cure, and understanding the environment that forklifts operate in goes a long way towards this. Identifying potential hazards is how you can put proper risk management strategies in place.

Eliminating any unnecessary risks that might be present in the work environment will make it safer for forklifts to operate. There should also be processes and controls in action to manage incidents if they occur.

How a traffic management plan will help your safety

The actual work environment that the forklifts are operating in can cause hazards, so it is imperative that you have a traffic management plan in force to ensure operators and workers on foot know precisely where to move. A traffic management plan is the perfect support system to ensure the separation of forklifts, hazards and foot traffic.

Contact our team for more information on how you can develop a traffic management plan that includes your forklift activity.

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