Tonga forklift operator’s death leads to safety training and awards

The death of a forklift operator in Nuku’alofa early this year has led to a safety and health training as well as a presentation of certificates to local operators on Friday.

The events came after the New Zealand’s A Safe Work Environment For All (ASWEFA), an Auckland based forklift training company carried out the training for 30 operators at the Taufa’ahau Tupou IV Domestic Wharf.

The Friendly Island shipping Agency (FISA) CEO Viliami Takau said the company wanted to take the lead on this campaign as forklift operators worked in “an environment where safety of people is vital.”

“Following the success of this first training programme the aim is to extend the initiative to include other training that focuses on ensuring people are safe at work and go home to their families each day,” he said.

The certificates could enable the local operators to operate forklifts in New Zealand for three years, Takau has said.

A spokesperson for ASWEFA said: “[The company] was keen to be a part of an exciting program to not only carry out the first ever forklift training, but also pass on skills and knowledge so after leaving selected individuals can continue to train and pass on the importance of safety around forklifts in Tonga.”

“ASWEFA also provides training in WTR and Dangerous Goods and we hope one day to also extend this knowledge to Tonga as they lead the way in investing in their employees.