Smoking is the most common cause of a fire.
A lit cigarette can ignite flammable gases emitted by the forklift. LPG and gas-powered trucks are more vulnerable because a small amount of gas leak from the cylinder or tank can trigger a major explosion.
The “No Smoking” signs are installed all over the workplace to remind the workers of the danger associated with it.
Smoking inside the forklift cabin or anywhere else in the warehouse should not be allowed and be strictly prohibited at all times.
Forklift operators who may be caught smoking while at work or inside the workplace can be severely reprimanded. He could be terminated from work if the company policy says so.
Practices an Employer Can Do To Refrain Operators from Smoking
So here are the safety practices in preventing operators from smoking and avoiding fire accidents:
- The employer, through its designated safety officer, must ensure that risks that produce fire are mitigated. Getting rid of the prohibited activities such as smoking that has the potential to cause fire should be given priority.
- The company must implement a safety policy that no forklift operators, under any circumstance be permitted to smoke inside the forklift cabin or around the truck. All employees regardless of their position, whether they are permanent or temporary workers, must follow the no smoking policy on the premise.
- 3. Housekeeping is an important practice. The employer can designate an amount of time on a specified day of the week to do housekeeping. The litters, such as papers, plastics, and other garbage, accumulated inside the forklift cabin can cause a fire. It only takes a lit cigarette thrown on the floor to ignite it.
- The operators should start a right attitude in each work shift by giving them toolbox talk. They should be reminded that smoking in the workplace is not allowed at all times.
- The employer can device a disciplinary action such as a fine of 1-day salary deduction, be imposed for forklift operators who are found smoking in the forklift. Such disciplinary actions should be disseminated to all drivers so that they are informed before implementation.
- If your company allows the workers to smoke in the premise, the employer should take reasonable action to protect the well-being of the others in the workplace. You can install a designated outdoor area where workers can smoke. Though, there is a gray area whether smokers should be given a place to smoke.
- The employer can introduce a “smoking cessation” program in the workplace to help the employees in quitting smoking. Such program not only helps the workers but the business as well. A healthy worker is more productive and tends to commit fewer absences from work, lower insurance cost, prevent early death. Helping the workers to quit smoking saves everyone’s money.
- When recharging or refueling the forklifts, any ignition source or smoking are prohibited within 50 feet from the machine being recharged or refueled.
- Not only the recharging and refueling area have the noticeable “No Smoking” warning sign, the forklifts should have as well.
Regulations in Different Countries Prohibiting Smoking in the Workplace
In the UK, the Smoke-free (Exemptions and Vehicles) Regulations 2007 that take effect on July 1, 2007, state that it is illegal to smoke in the forklift fitted with a cab. Under the same regulation, it also requires the owner of such truck to install a “No Smoking” sticker on the cabin.
In Australia, the Melbourne Market Authority has launched a new forklift safety campaign on January 5, 2015. under its revised safety practices, it is no longer allowed for forklift drivers to smoke while operating a lift truck. Effective on the same date, forklift operators who are found violating the safety practices will be imposed with fines. The fine starts at $442 and for a willful violation, the fines are more stern and severe. For further reading, click here.
In Ireland, Under the Public Health (Tobacco) Acts 2002-2015, smoking is banned in enclosed places such as office blocks, various buildings, public houses/bars, restaurants and company vehicles. The intention of this act is to guard the employees and the general public from the harmful effects of smoking in the workplace.
To Finalize This
The management plays a vital role in the attitude shaping of their workers. If you don’t impose laws, they will just do what they want.
Aside from the state law, the employer should enforce an internal policy that smoking in the forklift cabin or anywhere in the company premises be banned.
The days when smoking is in the workplace was traditional are over. Nowadays, many states have passed laws banning smoking at work.
Your forklift operators and everyone else must adhere to the "No Smoking" policy of the company.