Scott Morrison in a Surprise Push To Let Children Drive Forklifts in Australia As the Nation Battles a C0VID Workforce Crisis
By Padraig Collins
– In Victoria, NSW and Queensland 18 is the minimum age for a forklift license
– A 44-year-old man was killed in a forklift accident in Victoria on Monday
– Almost 75 per cent of all forklift incidents happen in just five industries
– There is also a proposal to recognise New Zealand truck licences in Australia
With a shortage of workers crippling supply chains due to Covid-19 and a lack of immigration, Scott Morrison has come up with a novel plan to help out.
The Prime Minister, who is often pictured behind the wheel of forklifts, trucks and other industrial vehicles, wants to allow children to drive forklifts to help get items onto supermarket shelves more quickly.
In Victoria, NSW and Queensland 18 is the minimum age for getting the skilled work licence needed to drive a forklift, but Mr Morrison will reportedly ask at today’s national cabinet meeting for this to be lowered.
Scott Morrison (pictured right) will reportedly ask at today’s national cabinet meeting for the age for being allowed to get a forklift licence to be lowered
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured) observes a hydrogen powered forklift during a tour of the Toyota Hydrogen Centre in Altona last November 9, 2021
Mr Morrison is likely to tell state premiers he is passing on a suggestion from industry, Guardian Australia reported.
On Wednesday, Mr Morrison said some changes had already been made to speed up the supply chain process, but more were required ‘at a state level, and I’m continuing to pursue those with the states’.
The Prime Minister also wants the states to get rid of rules requiring daily rapid antigen tests for workers, except in high-risk industries.
Forklift driving can be one of the most dangerous occupations in Australia.
In NSW alone, there were five forklift accident fatalities in 2020 and 2021, and hundreds of incidents.
A man in Dandenong South in Victoria was killed in a workplace forklift accident on Monday.
Darren Lamb, 44, was killed when a shipping container fell on him while he was driving a forklift.
He leaves behind his wife of 22 years, Charlene, and seven children, aged from one to 20 years old.
SafeWork NSW executive director Tony Williams said the main factor in people being killed or seriously injured by a forklift is inadequate separation between pedestrians and forklifts.
‘While not all incidents involve an injury or death, many of these incidents include collisions between forklifts or other vehicles, rollovers and objects falling off forklifts when loading or unloading.’
Almost 75 per cent of all incidents happen in just five industries – transport, manufacturing, construction, retail and wholesale.
‘We have issued 494 notices to operators in the same time the 598 incidents happened – almost 20 per cent of workplaces don’t have simple seatbelt compliance in place.
‘The use of forklifts continues to grow and they are great tools for all sorts of businesses, but if we are not doing it safely then people will be forced to stop using them,’ Mr Williams said.
A proposal to recognise New Zealand truck licences in Australia will be seen as less controversial than allowing children to drive forklifts.