Over the last month, the mobile game Pokémon GO has become a huge hit. However, this fun app can have dangerous consequences at sites where forklifts operate, warns leading workplace transport operator training provider, Mentor Training.
The augmented reality game requires players to travel in the real world to progress – using GPS to track their movements. However, this has led to opportunistic gamers misusing workplace transport in order to reap in-game benefits.
Within days of the game’s launch there were countless stories on social media about people playing the game on sites operating forklifts – or even while operating forklifts:
“I got Pokemon GO banned from work ‘cause I drove a forklift into a wall trying to capture one”
“So someone nearly got impaled by a forklift playing Pokemon”
“Pokemon GO has officially made forklift driving way more exciting!”
Managing Director, Stuart Taylor explains: “Mobile phones are a dangerous distraction on any worksite at the best of times and it’s vital that staff operating on and around any materials handling equipment understand the risks they pose.
“But this latest craze is even more dangerous since it actively encourages players to look at their phone screens – to spot Pokémon – rather than pay attention to their surroundings.
“It’s vital that those working on or around forklifts are aware of what is happening all around them. Observation and awareness are key in limiting the risk of accidents, so we’re encouraging all operators and their colleagues on foot to ensure their concentration is not compromised, and managers and supervisors to be vigilant and stop unsafe practice in its tracks.”
“In training, we encourage fork truck operators and those working alongside them to take responsibility – not just for their own safety, but for that of those around them too. When working around equipment like forklift trucks, the dangers are numerous and critical, and when a heavy lift truck impacts with a human body – tragically - there can be only one outcome. The kind of injuries sustained in a forklift accident are serious and often life-changing so please think twice before you take your eye off the task in hand.”
Raise awareness of real dangers
Mentor has recently developed an exclusive video training module, entitled Safely Working with Lift Trucks, which site managers may find a valuable tool when dealing with any avid gamers – whether operators or pedestrians. The video is designed to educate both the unaware and those at risk of becoming complacent, highlighting key risks and challenging unsafe behaviour at the root of bad practice in order to affect long term improvements to site safety.
For advice on maintaining and improving site safety or further information on the Safely Working with Lift Trucks video, please contact Mentor on 01246 555222 or visit www.mentortraining.co.uk.