Workplace complacency occurs when you’ve been doing something a certain way for so long without incident that you naturally assume there can never be an incident. Workers and operators develop a false sense of security and that’s when things can start to go wrong. Complacency is a common and frustrating occurrence in most workplaces in some form or another and can have devastating consequences. It can become particularly dangerous when operating a forklift and working in an environment where forklifts commonly operate.
It is common knowledge that using a mobile phone whilst driving a vehicle on Australian roads is against the law. It is considered to be a distraction to the driver and therefore deemed to be unsafe. There are currently no laws or regulations relating to mobile phone use when operating a forklift. This is perhaps somewhat surprising. The workplace presents a forklift operator with many hazards, just like the road does a vehicle driver. To navigate these hazards safely, the operator needs to be free of distractions, and mobile phones are a major one.
Forklift operation is classified as ‘high risk work’ under Work Health and Safety legislation (in effect in most jurisdictions from 1 January 2012) and as such, forklift drivers must possess a high-risk work licence. However, employers should consider that holding a licence is not necessarily a sign of competency and a best practice approach ought to be adopted.
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