When the accident happened, the company nurse was unable to assist Mike as she had no previous training on forklift accidents.
The accident resulted in the death of Mike. A comprehensive workplace safety investigation was then launched. The nurse was interviewed and she admitted that she was unable to render first aid. The warehouse supervisor was interviewed and he had admitted that they were not able to follow the scheduled maintenance of all the forklift trucks due to budgetary constraints. Several forklift operators admitted that there was no journal for recording injuries on the workplace. An interview with the truck operators yielded answers which point to the poor maintenance of the trucks. An interview with the company treasurer revealed that he had not released any budget for the maintenance of the trucks for the same period.
The results were disconcerting. More than half of the forklifts, had the same safety switches disconnected, there was no set maintenance schedule, no procedure for reporting defects, no competent adviser on health and safety and no adequate management systems in place. Staff at the depot were encouraged to work as quickly as possible under a "work and finish" regime, which meant once they finished a set work quota, they could go home or move on to a higher rate of pay. But the court was told how the system was "not conducive to good health and safety practice" and left no time for preventive maintenance on the forklift trucks. The only employee at the site who is responsible for health and safety measures was an occupational nurse with no technical knowledge of forklift trucks.
STRATEGIES FOR PREVENTION OF WORKPLACE ACCIDENTS
There is a need to put into place an Injury Prevention Program with the commitment of top management. The first strategy is to assign responsibilities to specific personnel. There must be a maintenance engineer who will manage the preventive maintenance of all the forklifts in the place. This engineer will schedule regular inspections and evaluation system for the forklift trucks. This is an appropriate action since an added accident report at the company warehouse will merit fines from the Australian government. The company will also spend more money paying hospital costs and insurance expenses to the affected employees. This Injury Prevention Program will only be functional if the top management gives their full support behind it.
The second strategy is to have a safety communications system with employees. The company must have a form readily understandable by all affected employees on matters relating to occupational safety and health, including provisions designed to encourage employees to inform the employer of hazards at the worksite without fear of reprisal. This is an effective move since this strategy will pinpoint potential accident hazards in the workplace. The end result will be accident prevention.
The third strategy is to establish a system for assuring employee compliance with safe work practices. An important part of the strategy is to outline the procedures for correcting unsafe and unhealthy conditions. This will prevent many hazards from occurring through scheduled and documented self-inspections. An effective hazard control system will result in the identification of several hazards that exist or develop in the