A company was recently ordered to pay over $723,000 in fines and reparations for an incident that cause the death of a worker. These types of accidents have far more long-lasting and deeply felt consequences than the financial cost and workplace investigation, this man was a much-loved father and grandfather who will be dearly missed by friends and loved-ones. (Australia's "National Safety Magazine", vol. 89, No.3, page 8).
The WorkSafe NZ investigation into this incident highlighted several factors affecting safety around moving vehicles in the workplace:
- Administrative controls can be ambiguous and contradictory
- Pedestrians and mobile plant need to be segregated
- Pedestrians need to be segregated from forklift activity
- Fixed barriers to separate people from mobile plant do not work in every workplace
- The incident would not have occurred if the company had effective controls in place
- Administrative controls such as rules and processes are not enough
- More needs to be done to keep workers safe around moving vehicles
Emma Gruscha (senior associate for Sparke Helmore Layers) states in the same publication "Human behaviour is one of the most variable factors impacting safety at work".
Under Australian OH&S laws PCBUs, Safety Officers and workers must as far as practical ensure the safety of workers and must use all available ways to eliminate risk.
Separating forklifts from pedestrians is the quickest, easiest and most obvious way to stop collisions occurring on site. Pedestrian safety won't be in danger and forklift related accidents won't occur if forklifts and people aren't mingling, but how can this be done effectively?
Thoroughly briefing pedestrian workers and forklift operators as to where they should and shouldn't operate and making sure everyone complies is one part of an effective strategy.
Implementing physical boundaries using anything and everything from fencing, traffic islands, railings and even bright tape stuck to the floor is a way to further bolster compliance.
Even with a robust traffic management system, good visibility and a compliant team of employees, accidents can still occur, Employees are only human.
After long hours of work, employees can fatigue, become forgetful, absent-minded and increasingly unaware of what's going on around them. They simply forget to be aware of their surroundings, use poor judgement regarding safety or disregard compliance with safety rule and processes.
It' during these times that accidents occur, producing the worst injuries or even deaths. Accidents like these also cause your business the most damage in terms of reputation, employee morale and fines from safety authorities.
Pedestrians and forklift operators aren't always paying attention, we recommend BodyGuard Pedestrian Safety Warning System
This system segregates pedestrian workers from mobile plant by setting up a 360-degree safety exclusion zone on the vehicle. The zone is adjustable up to 9m from the vehicle.
BodyGuard overcomes the human factor and operates in dusty, dirty and poor lighting environments. Any time a pedestrian worker breaches the safety exclusion zone, the driver receives a clear and unmistakable warning and the pedestrian gets a vibration alert on a small Tag device they wear.
The system warns forklift operators when they're about to hurt someone and gives them a chance to hit the brakes. It could save someone from injury or even death.
In addition to providing the immediate alert to prevent an accident occurring, the system is enforcing compliance and teaching drivers and staff the specified safe distance to keep pedestrians from the vehicle.
If you need peace of mind and you're really serious about seeing pedestrian workers going home safe and sound, consider our BodyGuard Pedestrian Safety Warning System.
If you're interested in finding out more, we'd love to tell more about it.
Just give us a call on +61 (2) 4355 4554 or get in touch via our web site www.bodyguardsafety.com.au.