New guidance, inspections target forklift safety

The recently issued guidance delivers actionable advice to employers on the safe utilisation and upkeep of forklifts, underlining the importance of isolating forklifts from pedestrian workers on the ground. Data collected by WorkSafe reveals that, on average, over one employee in Victoria suffers severe injuries every week due to incidents involving contact with forklifts or falling forklift loads.

The advisory statement presents solutions to mitigate such risk, reinforcing the necessity of traffic management mechanisms, including physical barriers, restricted zones and signage. In addition, it advises employers to contemplate incorporating cost-effective safety technology like sequential seatbelt interlocks—preventing start-up without a fastened seatbelt—and proximity detectors that identify pedestrians and consequently reduce the speed of mobile equipment.

Effective this week, WorkSafe inspectors will commence a state-wide inspection initiative targeting forklift safety, with special emphasis on manufacturing, postal, and warehousing sectors—the industries most affected by forklift-related fatalities and injures. Unfortunately, since 2019, eight people have lost their lives in workplace accidents involving forklifts, including three pedestrians working in close proximity to these machines. Last year alone, of the accepted claims, 65 out of 157 injuries were the result of a forklift incident involving pedestrians.

WorkSafe’s Executive Director of Health and Safety, Narelle Beer, highlighted the criticality of providing employers with appropriate information and guidance for efficiently managing the risks associated with forklifts in their work premises.

Narelle Beer mentions, “While forklifts are essential pieces of machinery in numerous Victorian workplaces, they can cause significant harm if not properly handled and regulated.”

“Through initiatives like the introduction of new guidelines and our team of inspectors, WorkSafe is ensuring that employers take a proactive approach to guarantee the safety of their workers and others around forklifts.”

WorkSafe remains committed and won’t hesitate to act if any employer is identified as posing a risk to workers. Over the past year, court-imposed fines and undertakings for 16 WorkSafe prosecutions involving forklifts exceeded $2.4 million. This included Victoria’s inaugural workplace manslaughter prosecution in February when LH Holding Management Pty Ltd was convicted and fined $1.3 million following an incident where a subcontractor (25 years of age) died because of a company-directed forklift overturning with an elevated load on an inclined driveway.

Companies can access these updated guidelines for forklift safety at

Employers that properly utilize WHS management systems like Bluesafe SWMS or Bluesafe WHS Management System can further enhance their commitment to work safety by standardizing procedures around high-risk activities related to forklift operation.

Please get in touch with our media team for additional inquiries:
Phone: 0438 786 968
Subscribe to receive updates on our latest media releases.

Original article link:

Shopping Cart