• Tanya Gorrie
    Hi everyone. I am a first time caller on this forum, and would like people’s thoughts about when containers are being loaded and unloaded with the forkhoist driver going in and out of containers whilst people are in there stacking pallets. It seems so black and white to me that this is wrong, but I am being challenged on this. I would appreciate people’s views.
  • robyn moses
    Minimum requirement separation barriers I would imagine
  • Chris Hyndman
    Hi Tanya,

    It will come down to how effect the controls are to stop workers being struck by a moving forklift or its load, items falling from height,excessive levels of noise and any fumes being introduced into the containers.

    Worksafe have some guidance on their website that you may find useful, such as;
    Traffic Management in Manufacturing
    Vehicle Movements

    Hopefully there will be a Risk Assessment of some sort that has been put together for this job, it's worth taking a look at it to see if all the controls that have been identified are in fact being used.
  • Tanya Gorrie
    Thanks Robyn and Chris for your comments. Much appreciated.
  • Andrew
    Our pallets are stacked outside the container then moved in the container by fork hoist. Makes sense to us - less distance to move things by hand - let the forkhoist do as much travel / lifting as possible.

    Its a (edit) tight space and there is no way we would allow workers and forklifts to operate in the same area at the same time. The back of a container is a dark and gloomy place, visibility isn't great and there is additional noise.

    That said, we build in pallet size / container size specifically into our product design process as we want to minimise packaging and maximise container utilization. Product is stacked, wrapped and racked prior to movement. We design as much manual handling out of the process as we can.
  • Deb Cameron
    Hi Tanya. We do a lot of container operations and the rule is strictly no person inside the container while the forklift is operating. End of story. There has been numerous serious incidents in NZ with this so it is a known hazard. However, on the rare event it sometimes happens that the forklift is in there at the same time as workers, but in this case the forklift must be turned off, keys out, and handbrake on.
    Also I would like to clarify another response. Generally containers are not considered a confined space but are deemed a restricted space (unless there is a hazardous substance or the like that contaminates the atmosphere).
    Hope this helps.
  • Tanya Gorrie
    Thank you everyone for your response. Very helpful.
  • Michelle Dykstra
    Thanks Tanya - great discussion point. One more hazard to add - carbon monoxide.
  • TracyR
    Put a traffic management plan in place. Strictly no access when forklift in container.
  • Tania Curtin
    In an ideal world, there would not be a need for this to happen... but we live in reality, not an ideal world. Work through the hierarchy of control, starting at the top, and talk to the people who do the work, to determine what is reasonably practicable.
    So far as managing the people versus machine risk, there are some excellent technological solutions available now. One option if that the workers wear a proximity sensor that communicates with the forklift, and if they come within a specified distance the forklift is stopped or the operator is notified by an alarm.
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