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Leg amputated after forklift accident

forklift accident
In a serious incident in a Queensland warehouse, a forklift operator's leg was amputated after it struck a bollard

In a serious forklift accident in Queensland during September 2018, an operator’s lower leg was amputated when the forklift he was driving struck a bollard in a warehouse facility.

Initial investigations by Workplace Health & Safety Queensland suggest that the operator was driving the forklift around a corner of a packing area onto an exit ramp and his foot may have been outside of the manufacturer’s designated operating position.

Investigations are continuing into the incident by Workplace Health & Safety Queensland.

Prevention of forklift accidents

Forklifts, while relatively small pieces of plant & equipment, are known to be one of the most hazardous workplace vehicles. Use is frequent in warehouses and workshops on mining sites.

Across the mining industry, many people working with, or around forklifts often become complacent because they are quiet, in frequent use and part of the environment. Warehouse unloading and loading activities present a range of hazards in addition to routine operation in storage areas.

Incidents involving forklifts are frequently serious and often fatal.

Recommendations for sites to minimise a forklift accident

Sites and operators should always ensure:

  • forklifts are operated in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions;
  • operators hold a current high risk work licence to operate the forklift;
  • operators wear a seatbelt and do not place body parts outside of the forklift or reach through the mast while it is operating;
  • passengers are not carried on the forklift unless it is designed to carry more than one person and a designated passenger seat, seatbelt and foot rest is provided;
  • operators are properly trained and supervised on the specific traffic management plan for the workplace.

Whenever mobile plant such as a forklift is used in a workplace, a traffic management plan must be implemented to ensure the safety of drivers and pedestrians. Wherever possible, physical barriers such as bollards or railed walkways should be installed to separate pedestrians and forklifts.

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