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Safety at work

call for forklift operators to avoid dangerous practices

A call has gone out to forklift operators to conduct their work in a safe manner and to avoid dangerous practices.

Acting Senior Labour Officer in the Occupational Safety and Health Section of the Labour Department, Errol Goodridge, has warned that forklifts are to be used only for the stacking, lifting and transporting of materials and not human beings.

“Some persons have been standing on the forks or palettes of the forklifts and even using them as a means to access items at height. That machine has not been designed for those purposes and it should not be used as a hoist to lift persons or as a means of transport,” Goodridge said.

He reminded operators that such acts were unsafe and in breach of the law.

He noted that the Safety and Health at Work Act mandates that there should be “a safe means of access to every place at which any person has at any time to work; and that place shall, so far as it is reasonably practicable, be made and kept safe for any person working there”.

The official stressed that this means that “using a forklift to access areas at height is not safe, because the person could fall and there would be no protection in place to prevent injuries”.

Moreover, he explained that such behaviour directly contravenes the SHaW Act and pointed out that according to Section 9 of the legislation; an employee is required to “take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work”.

He also stressed: “It is the employees’ duty to correctly use equipment, personal protective clothing and devices that have been provided for their use.”

Goodridge further noted that an employee who contravenes the SHaW act is liable to a fine of $500, one month imprisonment or both.

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