If a certain company is engaged heavily in material handling and transporting, the business’ lifeblood is dependent on the people manning the heavy equipments – they’re the forklift operators. Every company that the line of business in is this industry, they are important part of the organization.
One of the measures an employer can take to make forklift operators satisfied and protected at work is the provision of occupational health services. Every company employing forklift operators shall establish in the workplace health services in accordance with the safety procedures and guidelines they have in place. The management and workers and their duly recognized representatives shall cooperate and participate in the structuring and enforcement of the measures relating to the wellbeing and welfare of forklift operators and implementation of health and safety services for them.
Different members of the organization have different roles and duties to perform to achieve safe and secured working environment.
What the Company Management Can Do
Being on the top of the organization, they have the full control of everything. Employer has the most responsibility for ensuring health and safety in the workplace. One of their responsibilities in terms of establishing workers’ welfare is the placement of occupational health and safety program. The program has two of the most important objectives that need to be achieved:
- Evaluate the forklift operator’s physical, emotional and psychological states as well as his abilities in order to facilitate his proper placement and ensure the appropriateness of the operator according to their physical capacities, mental abilities and emotional make-up in work in which they can perform with an acceptable level of efficiency and productivity without endangering their own health and safety and that of others in the workplace.
- Protect the forklift operators against health hazards in the workplace in order to keep workers from occupational and non-occupational diseases.
Now, what are the means the employer can do to achieve these two important objectives:
- Provision of regular forklift refresher training to make the operators learn additional skills and correct their past mistakes.
- Provision of forklift training course in regular interval to make sure they are properly trained to operate forklifts.
- Provision of safety officer and trainer to oversee their performance and supply necessary training in other safety aspects.
- Provision of medical personnel and facility and other emergency services in the workplace to give care in the event that an accident happens.
What the Workers Should Do
Though, workers are the receiver of what management will provide and have less responsibility, they play very important role to ensure that health and safety are in place:
- Follow safety culture and what has the management set forth in the HSE procedures and guidelines.
- Report unsafe condition so that safety officer can perform corrective measure.
- Work safely and never take risk. If risk is necessary and has to be taken, forklift operator should report to safety officer to make necessary risk assessment.
- Advocate other personnel to follow company’s health and safety program. Advocacy can be regard as one of the effective tools in instilling culture of health and safety to other personnel.
- Wear and right protective equipment for the job to shield them from injuries. Some of the personal equipments are hard hat, safety goggles, coverall clothing, steel toed boots, gloves and others that may be deemed necessary in the performance of the job.
Health Services in Time of Employment
- Pre-Employment Physical examination
All employees, irrespective of the working status, sex and age shall undertake physical test. It could be done during pre-employment/pre-placement or during company’s regular medical examination.
The pre-employment test shall be performed to find out the condition of the job applicant. Forklift operation is demanding job. The worker has to be in shape and in good stamina dong the job. Hence, it is important to examine the physical condition of the prospective candidate.
- Company’s Periodic Medical Examination
The periodic medical exam shall be performed in order to determine prevailing illnesses or conditions for early detection and treatment and to follow up previous findings so that medicine dosages could be adjusted.
When an operator was diagnosed with serious illness that could put at risk himself and others, his employment shall be discontinued until such time he makes full recovery. In other cases, where illness does not impede the forklift operator from doing other work, the operator can be given other work responsibilities consistent with their state of health.
What Other Things Management Can Do to Ensure Health and Safety
- The employer can supply other trainings that may not be related to forklift operation, such as CPR training, fire fighting training, ethics, time management, etc. This is to enhance their other skills that could be used to save lives, boost productivity or influence other people outside the company premise.
- Maintenance of a healthful workplace by carrying out regular housekeeping in order to conduct appraisal of workplace sanitation, periodic inspection of premises as well as all facilities therein, and assess the workplace in order to detect and appraise safety hazards and environment conditions affecting comfort and job efficiency.
Establishments, large or small, hazardous or non-hazardous shall have health services for the forklift operators.