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Head of Workplace Safety Authorities campaigns in transport

August 3, 2011
Following is an excerpts from the Final Report of the Head of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA) on the Delivering the goods safely and Forklift Safety campaigns:

“Delivering the goods safely” campaign

In this campaign, in which 274 road freight businesses were audited in the two years to 2010, HWSA found that while the majority of employers used appropriate manual-task control measures, owner-drivers of smaller trucks were exposed to higher numbers of hazardous manual tasks, and experienced more back, neck and arm pain and body tiredness.

HWSA found that “forceful bodily exertion” and awkward working postures were the most common risk factors, with bulky or awkward loads, poorly designed work areas (particularly at customer sites) and poorly maintained load-handling equipment being the most common sources of risk.

Time pressure, deadlines and fatigue were cited by drivers as the main barriers to undertaking manual tasks safely, and employers cited a lack of risk management skills as one of the most significant barriers to implementing controls.

The campaign report recommends that industry stakeholders:

  • place greater emphasis on using a risk management approach to managing manual tasks;
  • promote higher-order controls (such as elimination and redesign) instead of administrative control measures;
  • develop industry advisory initiatives that focus on manual tasks and draw on the knowledge of larger, experienced organisations; and
  • pressure upstream and downstream supply chain organisations to eliminate or reduce manual-task risks and improve the design of pick-up and delivery sites.

Forklift safety campaign

From 177 visits in seven jurisdictions, this campaign, which focused on the grocery and fruit and vegetable wholesale industries, found that while 89 per cent of work sites had implemented safe systems of work associated with forklift operations, the probability of unlicensed operators using forklifts was high.

Not one of the workplaces audited complied with all of the legislative requirements for the safe operation of forklifts.

More than one in 10 (11%) employers did not properly maintain or inspect the vehicles, and 13 per cent failed to provide adequate instruction and training. Some 14 per cent of worksites did not monitor or review the effectiveness of their implemented control measures.

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