10:48 pm, Saturday 10 April, 2010
Workplace safety authorities across the country will collaborate with each other as part of an initiative to minimise injuries involving forklifts in the grocery and fruit and vegetable wholesaling industry.
The campaign, which will run until May, will involve workplace safety authorities to look into forklift safety such as load positioning and handling, maintenance systems and operator’s pre-start checks.
While the campaign focuses on forklift operation, the safety watchdogs will also look into related issues such as manual handling tasks, slips trips and falls and working at heights. Safety inductions will be observed as well.
According to WorkSafe WA Commissioner Nina Lyhne, the campaign’s goal is to recognise the safety issues in the targeted industry and to provide employers with information.
“In WA, the campaign will involve WorkSafe inspectors visiting grocery and fruit and vegetable wholesalers to identify safety issues and provide employers with information on how to comply with occupational safety and health laws,” Ms Lyhne said.
“On average, around 180 Western Australian workers are injured in incidents involving forklifts each year, and four WA workers have died in forklift-related incidents since 2004.
“Forklifts – and indeed all mobile plant in workplaces – should be used with the greatest caution and only by workers who have the relevant skills and training.”
WorkSafe has started contacting employers in the industry and provided information on what inspectors will focus on during visits. The employers are being notified by telephone to arrange appointments.
Industry groups and unions have also been informed of the campaign.
“This campaign will allow inspectors to identify common problems with forklifts in the grocery and fruit and vegetable wholesaling industry while they provide information and – if necessary – take action where safety concerns are found,” Ms Lyhne said.
“The campaign is part of an ongoing program of proactive inspections, and is another good example of the States working together to develop a nationally consistent approach to workplace safety.”