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Forklift work platforms

Safety Alert
1 November 2017

Unsafe and/or inadequate systems of work – such as standing on forklift tynes or pallets, or in an unsuitable stillage – and the improper use of work platforms are common causes of serious incidents.

Forklift work platforms should be used to elevate workers to perform short duration tasks where it is not practical to use scaffolding, elevating work platforms or similar devices.

Forklift Work Platform Safety Alert 1

Above: A work platform specifically designed for mounting on the elevating device of a high-lift fork truck.

Australian Standard AS 2359.1: Powered industrial trucks – General requirements provides a minimum standard to which work platforms should be constructed.

Refer to Figure 1 for an example of a compliant work platform. SafeWork SA gratefully acknowledges the permission of Standards Australia to reproduce this illustration from Australian Standard AS 2359.1.

Forklift Work Platform Safety Alert 2

Figure 1: Compliant work platform. Where a gate is provided, it should be either sliding or inward-opening, and self-closing.

Control measures

Safe work procedures should be developed for tasks involving the use of forklift work platforms. Forklift operators must:

  • be properly trained and hold a high risk work licence
  • conduct pre-operational checks before lifting any person in a work platform, including ensuring the work platform is securely attached to the forklift
  • ensure the vehicle is parked while workers are on the platform
  • remain at the forklift controls at all times, keeping hands and feet clear of controls other than to lift or lower when required
  • ensure all parts of the forklift are clear of overhead obstructions, especially powerlines and overhead electrical cables
  • limit the number of workers on the platform to the manufacturer’s or competent person’s instruction
  • erect barriers and signs in areas subject to passing traffic and ensure nobody stands or passes under the forklift tynes or platform (whether loaded or empty), unless they are a competent person conducting maintenance.

The forklift must:

  • be parked on a hard level surface, with the handbrake on
  • have all controls, other than lift and lower, immobilised
  • have the mast vertical and tynes horizontal
  • (if hydraulic) be fitted with a flow restrictor to limit the lowering speed in the event of hydraulic failure.

Further information