Take preventative measures so your business doesn’t have to foot the bill from a forklift-related injury or accident.
The cost of forklift-related injuries is on the rise. Year after year – the transport, postal and warehousing sectors claim the most lives to high-risk work accidents and injuries, from 8 fatal accidents in 2014, to five fatal accidents in 2015 already.
Know Your Industry.
Each year in Australia, serious claims from work-related accidents cost hard-working employers tens of thousands of dollars in absence from work for one working week or more.
SafeWork Australia reported that the transport, postal and warehousing industry made the second-largest amount of serious claims per industry. In 2012-13 alone, over 19,000 serious claims were made – 19.1 claims on average per 1000 staff.
If your business involves transport, manufacturing or logistics, these figures probably don’t come as much of a surprise. Second to labourers, machinery operators and drivers (enter your resident forklift driver) submitted 24.4 serious claims per 1000 employees.
And it’s logical to see why.
From the constant flux of large materials, people and machinery moving around the warehouse floor, there are plenty of hazards to be wary of when driving a forklift.
Perhaps the most important of all is the incidence of human error when operating a forklift. As maneuverable machines designed to be compact, forklifts are less stable than other vehicles and mobile plants. Safe forklift operations demand ongoing employment training – alongside strict adherence to safety measures and correct operational procedures.
The Same Weight as your Average Dump Truck.
In the context of the mighty forklift – size doesn’t matter. While forklifts can appear as zippy material-movers from the outset, it pays to keep in mind that a medium-sized machine weighs about the same as your average dump truck.
If you would agree to having pretty tight controls on dump trucks moving around your site, you might start to appreciate the potential shortfalls of the same controls placed on your forklift operations.
While appearances can deceive, forklifts are one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment found in Australian workplaces – contributing to over 56 forklift-related deaths in the twenty-years to 2006. Supervisors and managers must ensure their staff know and understand correct forklift procedures, and the impact incorrect safety procedures can have on people and business.
The Apple doesn’t fall far from the Tree. Forklift Accidents are Costing Employers Millions.
How strict is the level of control placed on your forklift drivers?
Have you checked to ensure that your staff training is up-to-date?
What about routine procedural safety checks – when was the last time a supervisor or manager conducted a routine risk assessment?
The fact remains that while your drivers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of others – the duty of care is still placed in the hands of the employer. A poor forklift driver is more of a reflection on the employer than it is the employee – as ineffective employee training, poorly maintained machinery, and ineffective supervision all have a part to play in unsafe work practices.
As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that your forklift operators are up to scratch.
From forklift-related injury insurance claims of $5,000 to the record payout of $5m in 2013 – the headlines today are filled with bad-news stories that should deter staff and businesses from careless forklift practices. But still the cases flood-in – with increasing costs to businesses.
Across Australia and particularly here in NSW, WHS has a zero tolerance approach to the unsafe use of forklifts. Workplaces found to be using forklifts in an unsafe manner can expect WorkCover to act swiftly and enforce compliance in line with WHS laws.
In reducing the risks posed by forklifts in your workplace, checking if an employee has a valid forklift licence is not enough.
Refresh Staff Training to Avoid the Insurance Claim.
The costs to businesses for forklift-related incidents are on the rise – but they are preventable.
WorkCover are reinforcing safe work environments and effective employee training as precursors to safe work practices. It is now a requirement that all HRW Licence Holders ensure their skills are up-to-date by attending regular refresher courses after extended periods without operating a forklift.
To avoid the insurance bill, regularly investing in the training and development of your staff should be at the top of your list of priorities. When working environments are safe and forklift operators are informed, incidents and hefty insurance claims are lessened.
By making it a habit to refresh your staff and supervisors HRW Forklift Licences, you can rest easy knowing that your business has taken the required steps to prevent a forklift-related accident.