Christmas rush can impact warehouse safety

News Story
- 11 Dec 2008 ( #390 ) - Laverton North, Victoria, Australia
1 min read
With the Christmas season the busiest time for many businesses, it's essential that high standards of traffic management are maintained, particularly when it comes to pedestrians and forklifts.

"There will be a lot of pressure to get stock into and out of warehouses, shops and shopping centres in the next few weeks," says WorkSafe executive director John Merritt. "That's why having good traffic management which separates pedestrians and forklifts saves lives.

"A reflective vest is little protection against a forklift if the business does not have safe systems in place and if it does not ensure drivers are properly trained and licensed and using a seatbelt.

"At this time of year, many people in these environments are young and/or inexperienced. They're at risk if they're not properly inducted and know the rules about working in areas with forklifts or being able to take shortcuts.

"Having safe forklift management practices reduces risks and ensures everyone will make it to Christmas and beyond."

According to Merritt, six people have died at work as a result of crushing injuries this year. Although they have been in different working environments, most have involved machines.

Earlier this month, a County Court judge convicted and fined a cold storage company AUD175,000 when a worker died after being struck and killed by a forklift.

A.B. Oxford Cold Storage Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to workplace health and safety charges before Judge Michael Bourke.

WorkSafe's investigation of the incident found the company did not have any adequate traffic management system in place when 38-year-old Stephen Peluso of Elwood was hit by a forklift and died on 13 April 2005.
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