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Gary Rowe

| July 31 2019

Can We Use Mobile Phones on Forklifts?

A reader has asked what are the laws governing the use of mobile phones while operating forklift trucks?

Safety Laws on Mobile Phones

The traffic laws prohibiting the use of electronic devices while driving motor vehicles applies to public roads, not factories or logistics centres.

Workplace safety regulations do not prescribe specific controls on the use of mobile phones. Therefore, organisations have greater flexibility in developing company policy on mobile phone use, including when operating forklift trucks.

Manufacturer Recommendations

Most plant manufacturers recommend mobile phones not be used in proximity of plant or other hazardous equipment.

Organisations need to consider the advice of suppliers and manufacturers when preparing company policy but are at liberty to adopt a different approach if they are confident this can be done safely.

mp forklift  
No mobile phone use while driving policy  

Policy Options

Organisations can choose to:

  1. Totally ban use of mobile phones while on a forklift truck e.g. driver has to park and get off forklift; or
  2. Ban use of mobile phones while operating forklifts, but allow it when safely parked out of main trafficways; or
  3. Allow mobile phone use in certain circumstances with agreed safety precautions e.g. when stopped if required for safety or operational efficiency.

Clearly, company policy will prohibit use of hand-held electronic devices while actually driving as proper control of forklifts requires full attention to the surrounding environment and likely both hands.