Safety for workers around operating forklifts is a critical consideration in today’s workplaces. Forklift and warehouse safety barriers, guardrails and bollards are used to provide pedestrians with physically separated walkways and safety work zones.
If you are looking for security or forklift separation barrier suppliers in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane, you will find Sitecraft carries a comprehensive range of safety barriers and safety bollards for use in a wide range of applications. With our wide range of warehouse and carpark safety guardrail products, we’re able to safely secure your workplace environment.
Sitecraft also has customised safety and security solutions for sale, Australia wide. Our safety and security products include crowd and pedestrian control barriers, expanding/expandable barriers, safety guarding and fencing, bollards, speed humps, and convex mirrors.
One of the biggest dangers in workplaces are forklifts. Warehouse safety barrier systems are a widely used solution to this potential hazard.
Despite many campaigns by Australia’s workplace safety regulators to raise awareness of how to safety operate this essential piece of materials handling equipment, serious incidents keep happening daily in many different types of workplaces.
The range of incidents are tip overs, falling loads, striking racking and other plant or structures during loading and unloading and, worst of all, collisions with people. There have been too many deaths and serious injuries caused to workers near forklifts and pedestrians passing through areas where forklifts are operating.
Forklifts, or “industrial lift trucks” as they are technically known, are classified in Australia as high risk plant which says a lot about how dangerous they can be. They must only be operated by those who have been trained by an approved workplace safety trainer and have then obtained a forklift licence issued by the local OHS regulator.
Separating pedestrians from forklifts in a workplace is the simple solution to the problems of operators driving into or backing into workers. In this case every workplace is different and may require advice from plant suppliers, materials handling experts or workplace designers on how best to keep forklifts and pedestrians apart.
In some workplaces interaction with forklifts and workers may be necessary because of the nature of the various tasks or dictated by a restricted layout of the workplace. Workers on foot might be doing tasks e.g. order-picking alongside forklifts in a dispatch area. Other workers may be unloading and loading items that cannot be handled by forklifts.
The ideal solution is to physically separate forklifts from pedestrians. Forklift-only areas can be set up by installing industrial strength safety barriers, safety railings or safety guard rails. Warehouse guard rails and bollards are readily available for transport and storage situations.
Physical barriers may not be possible or practical in some workplaces where forklifts and workers occupy the same space or where workers or forklifts have to transit through different work areas. In these situations, pathways and work zones can be designated for forklifts and workers only. Installation of pedestrian safety rails and barriers will assist in protecting workers. But this relies on signage and workers and operators following procedures and keeping a watch out for those who flaunt the rules.
Safety laws do refer to safe operations of industrial lift trucks but this is limited to mandating the fitting of warning devices. The law makes no mention of segregation. But since a forklift is categorised as “plant” employers are required to identify and manage any risk at their workplace from any type of plant.
Forklift safety is referred to in SafeWork Australia’s national Code of Practice for Plant which in turns draws on Australian Standard AS 2359 ‘Powered Industrial Trucks’. The national code doesn’t deal with this risk in any detail, except as an example of a risk control for mobile plant where it states; “Traffic management controls have been implemented in a warehouse to separate moving forklifts from pedestrians by using signs and painted lines on the floor. These controls may need to be upgraded to include physical barriers.”
Specific advice may be found in the array of forklift safety guidance material that is available from the websites of the safety regulators. The advice is consistent in recommending a “traffic management plan” for transport, warehouse and storage workplaces where managing risk of forklift operation is a major problem.
These documents recommend a range of solutions, depending on the workplace and the risk. These measures include pedestrian and forklift exclusion zones, overhead gantries, safety zones for truck drivers, safety barriers, pedestrian guard rails, floor markings, containment fences and bollards and speed limiting devices and signs.
Employers who ignore this problem are an easy target for a visit by a government workplace safety inspector. Inspectors will expect to sight licensing documents, view up to date log and maintenance books and check the overall condition of a forklift and seat belt fitment. They will want to see safe operating procedures, training records and observe pedestrian segregation layout of the workplace. If these are not adequate, inspectors will issue a legal notice for forklift safety to be improved. They may even issue a notice to shut down forklift operation if the risk is immediate and requires extensive remediation before the workplace can be safe. In some cases, especially if an incident triggered in a visit, they may prosecute.
Heavy fines have been issued by the various state regulators to many employers around Australia for lack of forklift safety. Several of those prosecutions have involved fatalities.
With offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, contact Sitecraft today to discuss how our warehouse safety barriers and forklift separation guardrail solutions can help keep you, your workforce and workplace safe and secure.
For more information about our safety and security barrier/guardrail solutions, call Sitecraft on: 1300 363 152.