Worker run over by forklift
Whilst not an owner builder site, the following incident highlights the dangers of operating mobile plant at a workplace.
In May 2018, a forklift ran over a worker who was standing in a loading dock where material handling was taking place.
The worked suffered considerable injury to his legs and shoulder and requires intensive rehabilitation.
Owner builders should always consider the movement and proximity of all persons engaged on their site when mobile plant is operating.
Preventing a similar incident
Where mobile plant is in use at your owner builder site it is your responsibility as the Principal Contractor to ensure a traffic management plan is implemented.
Owner builders need to recognise the risk and ensure mitigating defenses such as physical barriers, bollards or railed walkways are installed to separate pedestrians and mobile plant
Owner Builder Must Consider:
- the physical environment, such as lighting, road surfaces, ventilation and weather
- traffic destination, flow, volume and priorities
- forklift stopping distances, turning (tail swing) and operator blind spots
- forklift characteristics, such as stability and attachments
- load characteristics, such as height, width and type.
- it is clear to mobile plant operators and workers who has right of way
- any no-go zones for plant and equipment or pedestrians are clearly isolated and marked
- if high visibility vests are required, they are readily available to staff and visitors
- pedestrian floor markings are highly visible and well signed
- speed limits are clearly signed and followed
- traffic directions, such as 'stop' and 'one way', are clearly signed and followed.
If you think these are isolated events, then as an owner builder consider the following:
Compensation claims for incidents involving forklift alone have exceeded 400 since 2011.
Forty per cent of these involve serious injuries with five or more days off work.
Most common injuries are sprains and strains with the next most common injury being hit by plant or its load.
During the same period, WHS have been notified of 137 incidents involving workers or bystanders being struck by, run over or trapped by plant and equipment. Two of these involved a death and 88 involved a serious injury requiring hospitalisation.
Fines and Prosecution
As the owner builder and Principal Contractor, worksite safety remains your responsibility.
If you fail to ensure your workplace is safe, you may be fined, have civil or criminal proceedings taken against you.
Maintain worksite safety plans, insist on accurate and complete Work Method Statements from your contractors and ensure they work in accordance with same.
This post is certainly not meant to scare our owner builder students, but hopefully it will raise awareness of the hazards and risk associated with the use and operation of mobile plant.
Keep Safe and Happy Owner Building,