Forklifts cause more workplace deaths and injuries than any other piece of equipment, and more than half of forklift-related fatalities have involved pedestrians. Even a slow-moving forklift can crush, injure, or kill a pedestrian.
How to develop a forklift traffic management plan
Employers and self-employed persons have a duty to identify hazards in the workplace and to assess and control risks in the workplace. To develop an adequate forklift traffic management plan, employers and self-employed people must:
- Identify all hazards associated with using a forklift at the workplace.
- Assess the risks to people's health and safety and make sure the traffic management plan includes ways to control those risks that will ensure people's safety.
Employers need to consult with employees, including contractors, and health and safety representatives (HSRs) when identifying hazards and assessing risks.
Controlling the risks
Employers and self-employed persons must eliminate risks arising from the use of forklifts, so far as is reasonably practicable. If it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate the risk, employers and self-employed persons must control the risk so far as is reasonably practicable.
The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations) explain how to reduce risks by using one or more of the following risk controls:
- introducing systems to eliminate the risk, so far as is reasonably practicable
- substituting the plant with plant that has a lower level of risk
- isolating plant from people
- using engineering controls.
If a risk still remains, employers and self-employed persons must reduce the risk by using administrate controls such as training, supervision and instruction, or providing appropriate personal protective equipment.
Risk controls to consider in a forklift traffic management plan
Employers and self-employed persons need to consider risk controls in a forklift traffic management plan. Risk controls should include but are not limited to:
- substituting a forklift with other suitable load-shifting equipment which has a lower level of risk
- identifying the safest routes of travel
- assessing and identifying traffic flows. For example, creating one-way routes and eliminating the need to reverse
- reducing how often forklifts work near pedestrians
- pedestrian exclusion zones
- forklift exclusion zones
- speed-limiting devices
- forklift-approach warning lights
- safety zones for truck drivers
- the means for truck drivers to safely transit from the truck to the safety zone
- safety barriers
- containment fences
- speed limit signs
- traffic lights
- reversing cameras and alarms
- sufficient workplace lighting
- fixed mirrors
- floor markings
- pedestrian crossings with barrier gates on forklift routes
- personal protective equipment.
Consult and review
When developing a forklift traffic management plan, HSRs, forklift operators and other employees should be consulted and involved. The plan should also be reviewed regularly to make sure the risk controls continue to be adequate, and revised whenever there is a change in forklift or pedestrian work practice.
Advise everybody at the workplace
Employers and self-employed persons must advise all people at the workplace, including employees, contractors, and visitors, about the workplace's forklift traffic management plan. Appropriate training and instruction about the forklift traffic management plan should be provided. The workplace induction should also include the forklift traffic management plan.
All employees need to be aware of and be trained in the forklift traffic management plan.
Should a contractor or visitor who has not been trained in the forklift traffic management plan need to either cross a forklift route or encroach into the working area of a forklift, they must be accompanied at all times by someone who has undertaken this training.
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