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Climbing onto machine ends in fatal injury

Forklift
Forklift

An employee who used equipment as a ladder died after being crushed.

One worker recently thought it would save time to stand on a forklift while performing tasks at height. However, he failed to anticipate the machine could still move even though it was parked.

“On 7 July 2022, a worker was standing on the rear of a forklift to hang a cable on an overhead beam. However, the forklift suddenly moved backwards, resulting in the worker being crushed between the forklift and the beam,” the Workplace Safety and Health Council said in a safety alert.

The injuries were so severe emergency responders were unable to stabilise his condition.

“He died at the hospital,” the alert said.

Investigators believe the victim failed to use the correct equipment, and the machinery in question was only designed to relocate objects.

“Using the wrong equipment at work can result in serious injuries or even death. Forklifts should only be used to move goods on pallets. Forklifts are not meant for workers to gain access to higher work areas – use ladders or work platforms instead,” they said.

They also recommended the following precautions:

  • use a proper work platform for tasks requiring work at height
  • develop a safe work procedure (SWP) and communicate the SWP to workers. Supervise to ensure the SWP is followed
  • allow only competent and authorised operators to operate forklifts. Ensure all forklift operators have completed the necessary certifications. Forklift operators should never allow workers to stand on the forks or at the rear
  • forklift servicing and maintenance should be carried out regularly according to manufacturer recommendations. This will help prevent sudden forklift failure
  • implement a behavioural observation and intervention initiative at your workplace. Encourage workers to look out for one another and empower them to stop work if they see unsafe behaviour.

Click here to read the full safety alert.

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AMSJ April 2022