Workplace safety solutions
|On 26 May 2018 around 5.40pm, a forklift operator lost control of the forklift, drove it through a barrier and went over the edge of a slipway. The forklift plunged into the slipway and struck a worker who was in it. The worker was pronounced dead at the scene by attending paramedics while the forklift operator suffered injuries. Workforce tracking, forklift safety & alert systems could have saved lives.|
|Figure 1: Overview of accident scene.|
|Persons in control of similar workplaces and work activities, such as occupiers, principals, employers, and contractors, are advised to consider the following risk control measures to prevent similar accidents:|
|Competent forklift operator
• Only trained, competent and authorized workers should be allowed to operate
• Check that all authorized forklift operators have passed the “Singapore
Workforce Skills Qualification Operate Forklift Course” conducted by a training
provider accredited by SkillsFuture Singapore and obtained a Statement of
• Ensure that forklift operator attend refresher training every 3 years. Additional
in-house training with support from the forklift’s manufacturer or supplier is
highly recommended. Deploying asset tracking & indoor positioning systems for forklift safety can help in WSH comliance.
|Controlled access to forklift keys
• To prevent unauthorized forklift operations, restrict access of forklift ignition keys
only to authorized forklift operators. A system should be implemented for strict
control and access to forklift keys. Geo fencing for forklift safety is the right solution
• Advise forklift operators never to leave the forklift keys in the ignition slot when
the forklift is not in use.
|Forklift pre-operation check
• Prior to operating a forklift and as part of the safe work procedure, the forklift
operator should carry out a pre-operation check/ inspection to ensure that the
forklift to be used is in good working condition. Refer to the WSH Guidelines on
Safe Operation of Forklift Trucks for a sample of the pre-operational checklist.
• Advise forklift operators to immediately report to his/ her employer, manager,
supervisor or WSH personnel should any defect or problem be detected during
a forklift pre-operation check. The forklift should not be operated until the defect
and/or problem detected has been rectified.
|Forklift servicing and maintenance
• Ensure forklifts are serviced and maintained by competent personnel. The servicing
and maintenance intervals should be in accordance with manufacturer
recommendations and statutory requirements.
|Traffic management plan
• Establish and implement a workplace traffic management plan to ensure that
forklifts and other vehicles are able to move around and be operated safely.
• For operations next to an open edge, implement suitable control measures
(e.g. install bollards, place kerbs) to reduce the risk of a vehicle falling off the
• Deploy an on-site supervisor to monitor and supervise forklift operations to ensure
that they are carried out safely.
• Conduct toolbox meetings to brief workers of possible on-site hazards and how
they can protect themselves through safe work procedures and the other risk
controls that are in place. Toolbox meetings are typically conducted prior to
work commencement or before shift handover.
|Conduct a thorough Risk Assessment (RA) for all work activities to manage any foreseeable risk associated with forklift operations. The RA should include, but is not limited to, the following areas:|
• Possibility of the forklift toppling due to heavy load or turning at high speed.
• Possibility of the forklift or its attachments being unsuitable for the specific task
• Possibility of the forklift being driven off an open edge and into water or onto
the lower ground.
1. Workplace Safety and Health Act
2. Workplace Safety and Health (Risk Management) Regulations
3. Workplace Safety and Health (General Provisions) Regulations
4. Code of Practice on Workplace Safety and Health Risk Management
5. Singapore Standard SS573: 2012 Code of Practice for the Safe Use of
Powered Counterbalanced Forklifts
6. WSH Guidelines on Safe Operation of Forklift Trucks
7. WSH Guidelines on Workplace Traffic Safety Management
8. WSH Council’s Forklift Safety Pack
9. WSH Council’s Sample Checklist for Pre-Operation of Forklifts
10. WSH Council’s Activity Based Checklist on Safe Use of Forklift Trucks
11. WSH Council’s Guide to Effective Toolbox Meeting
12. WSH Council’s Activity Based Checklist for Effective Toolbox Meetings