Increased forklift inspections not enough for AFL

The Alberta Federation of Labour feels more must be done to improve forklift safety in the province.

AFL President Gil McGowan says the government's announcement of a few weeks of increased forklift safety inspections is welcome, but not enough.

"Right now the only mention of training and certification in the Alberta Health and Safety Code is sort of a vague reference that forklifts are heavy equipment and there needs to be adequate training," remarks McGowan. "But they don't spell out what that training is and there are no penalties for employers who haven't provided adequate training. From our perspective that needs to change."

McGowan says the provincial government needs to follow the lead of Manitoba and institute a mandatory system for training and certification of forklift operators.

He points out tens of thousands of Alberta companies use forklifts and it's simply not good enough to hope they will properly train their workers.

"Basically anyone can get behind the wheel of a forklift and start driving without training and without testing and from our perspective that helps explain why there are so many injuries and fatalities related to forklifts - - more than other pieces of equipment."

Back in 2008, Mitchell Tanner, 16, died on his second day on the job while on a forklift at a Rona store in St. Albert, just north of Edmonton.

QR77, Sat Feb 19 2011

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