Serious head injuries were sustained by a 30 year old worker at a manufacturing plant in Bomen near Wagga Wagga. It was an alleged skylarking incident (a foolish act) where a forklift was inappropriately used, towing co-workers on a makeshift plastic sled. The sled became lodged turning a corner and one worker was thrown off it and sustained a serious injury to the head. He was airlifted to Sydney Hospital.
General Manager of WorkCover's occupational health and safety division, John Watson stated that forklifts are not designed for towing individuals.
"Forklifts are a complex piece of machinery that can be extremely dangerous when not used for their intended purpose" Mr. Watson said.
"Skylarking on any worksite is inappropriate. Skylarking with machinery is dangerous and employers must ensure that they take all necessary training and action to ensure that never occurs."
"Workplace Safety should be the number one priority in any business", he continued.
“If not used properly, forklifts can put people at risk of serious injury or death. They can easily become out of control, tip over, turn too fast or lose loads and should not carry passengers. Sadly, this serious incident could have been avoided. Forklifts should only be used for the purpose for which they are designed,” Mr Watson said.
Forklift safety is of utmost importance. When using them, operators are to ensure that:
- there is adequate traffic management that includes the safety of pedestrians and bystanders
- there is planning for the task at hand and the appropriate equipment is being used for the specific load
- forklifts are being used and maintained according to the designer's or manufacturer's instruction
- forklift operators are properly trained and certified, particularly for the specific forklifts they are operating
Australian Forklift Training is committed to upholding the highest forklift safety standard when it comes to machinery and forklift operation.