Safety alert issued over dual lift forklift operations

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of members. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Date: 
Tuesday, 10 November, 2020 - 12:00
Category: 
Policy & legislation
Location: 
Northern Territory

NT WorkSafe recently issued a safety alert highlighting the risks associated with using forklifts for dual lifts operations.

The alert was issued following an incident in late September 2020, where workers at a Top End worksite attempted to move a 10-metre jib weighing almost 4 tonnes.

The Franna crane normally used to move the jibs was offsite, and a decision was made to dual lift the jib using slings and two forklifts.

During the lift, one of the forklifts positioned at the base of the jib rolled, pushing the jib forward. The uncontrolled momentum of the jib tipped the second forklift sideways.

The forklift operator was wearing the seatbelt at the time, which prevented the worker from falling out of the cabin and potentially into the path of the tipping forklift.

In the past 12 months, there have been 3 serious injury claims in the Northern Territory involving a worker being pinned or crushed by a forklift.

Lifting operation involving more than one item of plant is more complex requiring appropriate planning, coordination and operational control measures to manage the risk.

The alert said there were a number of possible contributing factors:

  • The Franna crane normally used lift the jibs was not available, and workers used equipment that may not have been suitable for the task.
  • A risk assessment was not conducted prior to the lifting activity.
  • Workers were not aware of any formal procedure when operating forklifts during a dual lift.

 

The alert recommended a number of required actions:

  • Ensure forklifts are used as per the manufacturer’s guidelines and specification. Use the right tool for the job.
  • Conduct an activity risk assessment for all non-routine lift operations, to highlight possible additional risks and to determine the safest possible way to complete a job or task.
  • Ensure managers, supervisors and workers are consulted as part of any high-risk assessment process.
  • Ensure workers receive information, instruction and supervision and are adequately trained in the safe use of forklifts.