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Safework NSW is warning businesses using forklifts to expect a visit after the workplace regulator released figures showing an incident involving a forklift occurs every day, six days a week.

SafeWork NSW executive director of compliance and resolution, Tony Williams, said incidents involving forklifts is a big problem in the manufacturing sector which is why inspectors will be out in force in coming months.

“Over the last two years, SafeWork NSW has recorded an astonishing 598 incidents involving forklifts. Tragically five of these incidents resulted in workplace fatalities,” Williams said.

“While not all incidents involve an injury or death, many of these incidents include collisions between forklifts or other vehicles, rollovers, and objects falling off forklifts when loading or unloading.

“The main factor we see in people being killed or seriously injured by a forklift is primarily inadequate separation between pedestrians and forklifts, which leads to pedestrians being hit by a forklift or its load.

“Almost 75 per cent of all incidents happen in just five industries – transport, manufacturing, construction, retail and wholesale. “

Almost 20 per cent of workplaces don’t have simple seatbelt compliance in place, the regulator said.

“The use of forklifts continues to grow and they are great tools for all sorts of businesses, but if we are not doing it safely then people will be forced to stop using them,” Williams said.

SafeWork’s 2021 Manufacturing Sector Plan, Forklift Compliance Project commences this month and will see Inspectors provide education to the industry along with conducting compliance checks against high-risk industries.

More than 850 awareness letters have been sent to businesses encouraging them to get their workplaces in order in preparation for the arrival of inspectors.

For more information on forklift safety and identifying forklift risks, visit the SafeWork website.

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