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Watchdog issues warning over use on variable surfaces
Two forklift accidents in the Northern Territory have spurred the government work safety organisation to warn owner, users and those likely to be in proximity of the risks such vehicles pose.
In particular, NT WorkSafe highlights operating the vehicles on uneven ground with elevated heavy and large dimension loads.
It is also seeking to reinforce the use of well-established ways to minimise the risk of injury from tipping over.
NT WorkSafe inspectors have responded to two forklift tip over incidents within two weeks, in Darwin.
The first incident occurred in late March, when an unlicensed operator was reversing a forklift along a rough dirt driveway carrying a trailer frame.
The forklift was reversing with the tines raised at the top of the mast when the forklift tipped over onto its side," the organisation says.
"The operator received a serious laceration to their arm that required 32 stitches.
The second incident occurred in early April, when a recently licensed and inexperienced forklift operator attempted to unload a 40-foot shipping container from a vessel.
"The shipping container had to be elevated to clear the vessel’s bow as the forklift reversed down the bow ramp," the organisation says.
"As the forklift attempted to reverse up the boat ramp, the 37 tonne forklift tipped forward damaging the vessel, shipping container and forklift. Fortunately the operator escaped without injury."
NT WorkSafe has previously issued a trick fire warning, here
NT WorkSafe observes that the forklifts were travelling on uneven ground or a slope when control was lost, and were travelling with the loads lifted high, which can affect stability.
The loads themselves may have been contributory factors.
"In the first incident, the trailer frame was not secured and was able to swing on the tines," it says
"In the second incident, the aftermarket weighing system fitted to the forklift did not register a reading when the shipping container was lifted.
"During the retrieval process, the shipping container and its contents was found to have exceeded the forklifts rated capacity."
It makes the following recommendations:
WorkSafe inspectors have begun a forklift safety campaign, focusing on businesses that supply materials to the construction industry.
This month, inspectors will be providing these businesses and other duty holders with information and advice on the hazards and safe use of forklifts.
Next month, workplace inspectors will return to monitor compliance with the safe management and use of forklifts.
Inspectors will check points including safe systems of work, forklift operator licences and forklift maintenance logs, among other things.
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