Category Archives: Health & Safety

Forklift Truck Accidents – Handling Equipment Online News

How To Survive Forklift Truck Accidents

It may surprise you to learn that a large number of forklift truck accidents occur across the country on a very regular basis. The purpose of a seatbelt differs widely between a car and a forklift truck. In a car, a seatbelt is designed to protect and restrain the driver and passengers in the event of a high speed collision. This prevents the driver and passengers from colliding or impacting with the interior of the car. People often wonder why forklift trucks have seatbelts as they travel at a much slower pace.

Forklift Truck AccidentIt may seem strange therefore that seatbelts on forklift trucks are not designed to protect the driver in the event of a collision. Instead these seatbelts are designed to stop the driver from succumbing to the fatal urge to jump when a forklift truck overturns. In many cases the process where a forklift truck begins to topple or overturn begins slowly, due to this a number of drivers have in the past felt the urge to jump free. This can be a fatal exercise, this is because if an operator begins to slip in their seat or is tempted to jump free as the forklift begins to topple they run the risk of having being trapped or crushed between the truck’s overhead guard and the floor. The seatbelt in a forklift truck is designed to keep the driver in the relative safety of their seat in the cabin.

Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly common for Coroner’s Inquests to detail more gruesome and more tragic accounts of how in forklift truck accidents, drivers make attempts to escape from the cabin as it begins to topple. These reports recount a common tale, often in these attempted escapes to save their lives the driver commonly dies. Due to this Handling Equipment Online has provided some tips in order to help your workforce from having any forklift truck accidents.

If the driver of a forklift truck is not wearing a seatbelt, or the truck does not have one, they can attempt to stay safe by following these three tips:

  1. Lean in the opposite direction to the one in which the truck is tipping.
  2. Grip the steering wheel firmly, alternatively grab hold of the handles, this measure will dramatically improve the drivers chances of staying in their seat.
  3. Push down directly onto their feet, doing this pushes the driver back into their seat.

In the unfortunate case of being involved in a forklift truck accident, if the driver keeps their nerve and remains in the cabin, securing themselves in place using the three above tips, the driver may be bruised. However there have been virtually no fatalities recorded for this type of accident. However it has been shown that no amount of training can prevent some drivers from attempting to jump free from the truck. Due to this the only safety precaution which seems to have been proven to be effective in this scenario is to wear a seatbelt.


Manually Lifting Heavy Objects Safely – Handling Equipment Online News

Manually Lifting Heavy Objects SafelyManually Lifting: How To Take Care When Lifting Heavy Objects

When manually lifting heavy objects, regardless of whether it is at home or at work, it is essential that it is done correctly in order to avoid serious injury or damage to the back. Once a person’s back has been injured they are far more susceptible to suffer from further back injuries and related problems in the future. Quite often back injuries occur when lifting, this is because people underestimate the weight of the object in question or the level of strain which it will place on the back. In order to avoid the occurrence of these accidents it is important to understand how to safely lift objects manually. In order to do this Handling Equipment Online has provided an instructional guide.

Observe the object:

Prior to lifting the object it is important to identify whether there are any grips or handles which can make a huge difference. In addition, it is important to notice how the object is positioned, whether it is at an angle, on the floor or table etc. Once the position of the object has been established then the objects movement once lifted can be better judged.

Get into position close to the object:

When manually lifting objects it is important to get as close to the object as possible. In addition, the feet should be shoulder width apart. When lifting the abdominal muscles should be tensed in order to provide a strong core.

Prior to lifting test the object:

Do not attempt to lift the object straight away. Instead it is important to test the weight of an object prior to lifting it. In order to do this lift two of the objects corners and allow it to tilt, this will provide an accurate feeling of the weight of the object.

A good stance is essential:

When lifting the object do not lean directly over the object or pick it up using only the back muscles. This is exactly how back related injuries occur when manually lifting heavy objects. A good stance involves squatting down with a straight back with feet kept close to the object at all times.

Lift slowly:

Once in the squatting position with a straight back, it is time to lift the object. The back should be kept straight, then using the leg muscles, instead of those in the back, slowly begin to stand up, whilst holding the heavy object which is being manually lifted. Be sure to stand up slowly, as lifting the object in one sharp jerk can also result in substantial injury.


Forklift Truck License: How Do You Apply For One?

Individuals often find themselves requiring a forklift truck license. This is often for one of two reasons, either to be eligible for a new job or alternatively in order to further an individual’s career and gain access to the next rung on the job ladder.

Forklift Truck LicenseThe first step in acquiring a forklift truck license is to find a training centre locally. In most cases a forklift truck training course typically lasts between 5 and 10 days. The duration of the course depends largely on the number of people in the class and the previous experience and ability of the individual. Forklift truck training courses can often be easily completed by individuals regardless of their previous experience, or lack of it. This is because forklift truck training courses often operate on a number of levels ranging from beginner to advanced ability.

During the course, individuals will be instructed in how to safely start, manoeuvre and drive a forklift truck. Once an individual has finished practising driving a forklift truck and learning the associated safety regulations, they are required to sit two examinations. One of the examinations is a written test, whilst the second examination is a practical test. The procedure is extremely similar to the one required to obtain a driving license.

During the practical aspect of the examination individuals have to prove that they are competent in performing equipment inspections, are able to safely manoeuvre the forklift truck in tight and restricted areas with and without loads and are able to load and unload the forklift truck to various heights. In order to pass the practical aspect of the examination an individual needs to successfully obtain at least 25 points.

Once an individual passes both aspects of the examination, they will be rewarded with a Certificate of Basic Training. This certificate means that the individual in question is fully qualified to drive a forklift truck, enabling them to then apply for the desired job or gain the prestigious promotion. Prior to booking a forklift truck training course it is essential to select a centre or institution which has the correct credentials and operates legitimately. Failure to do this could result in a forklift truck license or qualification which is invalid. Legitimate and recognised centres can be easily recognised by the RTITB logo and the ITSSAR logo, which should appear on the company’s website, course outline and associated literature.


Forklift Safety Procedures: Training Prevents Tasks Building Up

Forklift Safety Procedures

Forklift operator training programs can often lead people to believe that they are effective.  This along with a suitable forklift safety procedure should maximise work output whilst ensuring your workforce is protected. However it is only when things start to go wrong that shortcomings in the training program are revealed. Recent industry observations have concluded that it does not have to be a challenging task to identify and quantify how prepared an operator is and their levels of productivity.

Forklift Safety ProcedureWayne Wilde, the field technical sales officer for UniCarriers identified that the first step should be to establish a policy and a suitable forklift safety procedure for both the use of equipment and also for the carrying of materials and loads. To demonstrate, what are the current policies for the handling of liquid loads compared with those for handling solid loads? Or what is your existing policy for using your electrical trucks outdoors?

Wilde stated “If a manager says someone is breaking the rules, he ought to be able to point to the rule in question. Often I ask about policies for materials handling and forklift operation and I get a ‘deer in the headlights’ look.” However developing new policies needn’t be a complete upheaval of previous practices. The Industrial Truck Standards Development Foundation (ITSDF) standard B56, is a free document which can be downloaded. The document contains a user section which outlines a number of correct operating practices. This document can be implemented into your training program as an additional supplement.

A key indicator that the current operator training program is lacking is damage caused to both the property and product. Wilde provides an explanation for this, “if your managers aren’t tracking that revenue loss, they should be. As business has picked up, the No. 1 concern is getting product out the door, and some of these losses are seen as simply a cost of doing business. But they are easily preventable and can also be traced to their origin.”

Wilde claims that the main way to notice and pick up on short comings to your existing training program is by creating a culture of accountability. Under this culture of accountability it is not only incidents which should be recorded, near-misses should also be reported and recorded by both operators and pedestrians nearby.

Unfortunately, bad habits can quickly emerge around aspects of operation as simple as replacing batteries. If an operator runs a battery to empty during a shift there is no doubt that replacing it will greatly interrupt the productivity of that shift.

Once an organisation has put policies and a standard agenda in place, it should then look at evaluating and reviewing these measures on a regular basis. Wilde suggests that after a year of using one procedure that you should embark on a thorough analysis of it in order to ensure that it is working as it should be. Wilde additionally recommends that customers make use of up-to-date resources from manufacturers and also provide both managers and employees with an input into the training and also the development of your policies.


Forklift Truck Driver Simulator – Handling Equipment Online News

Forklift Truck Driver Simulator: Introducing The New Training Device That Could Improve Safety In The Workplace Whilst Reducing Accidents

Earlier this year Tactus Technologies developed the first video game like reality training program, specifically designed to help train a forklift truck driver. The company hopes that the product will help to reduce the number of injuries and deaths which stem from the misuse of forklift trucks.

Forklift Truck Driver SimulatorThe simulation program, creatively named the 3D Forklift Trainer, allows a prospective forklift truck driver to practice from the safety of an armchair through video game like system. A depth has been added to the simulation through the inclusion of a steering wheel, joystick and pedals. The program tests prospective drivers in a variety of simulated environments which include railway tracks, elevators and warehouses.

Jim Mayrose, the chief executive at Tactus explained that the simulator came into being due to a “need to improve operator readiness.” Figures from the Operating Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revealed that improper forklift actions account for over 100 fatalities and a staggering 100,000 injuries each year. The Tactus co-founder and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Buffalo University, Thenkurussi “Kesh” Kesavadas said “Until just recently, such virtual reality technology programs were only available to the military and university laboratories. By pioneering the use of gaming technology and computers into our software, we are able to provide our 3D forklift simulator at a low and reasonable cost for safe industrial training.” Kesavadas is also the director of the Virtual Reality Lab at Buffalo University.

Currently, forklift truck driver training often consists of a blend of classroom based lessons and lectures which feature videos and observational scenarios. After this students are provided with “on the job” training which places them in the driving seat of a forklift truck. “The problem,” Mayrose said “is that this type of training is largely passive as opposed to interactive.”

The simulator was funded through a financial grant from the Operating Safety and Health Administration. Recent reports have consistently demonstrated that the simulator lessons conform to the stringent OSHA guidelines.

The lesson plans included in the simulator require students to react to a range of safety challenges. These challenges include ramps, elevators and moving people, which are designed to reinforce the use of corrective measures for these future drivers. Each driver gains a personal profile which charts their progress whilst also evaluating their performance. Reports state that on average it takes an operator between three to four hours to complete the training program.

“Companies which are using our product will find that they have shorter training circles with less supervision needed and, most importantly, a safer environment” Mayrose said. After the initial purchase, customers will receive a full licence for their forklift trainer software, a customised computer, in addition to a steering wheel and set of pedals. Optional features include a 60-inch screen and specialised forklift-type seating. A commercial version of the software is available which includes a standard warehouse environment. The software is fully customisable so that it can be adapted to match the environment of the company.


Loading Bay Safety Essentials: Protect Your Workforce

Loading Bay Safety TrainingA recent study conducted by the Health and Safety Executive has indicated that most risk intensive aspect of industrial activities is the loading and unloading of goods. The report stated that an astounding 30% of all transport workplace accidents can be attributed to incidents occurring in this area. The impact on businesses can be detrimental resulting in millions of pounds worth of insurance payouts and sick pay. Due to this it is essential to provide all members of your workforce with adequate training to cover loading bay safety essentials prior to using them for this purpose. It may sound basic; however the impact of failing to do so could mean the downfall of your business, and your hard earned reputation.

The immediate area which surrounds loading bays can be a thriving hub of activity, due to this it requires a specific safety plan. In order to be effective you need to ensure your workforce adheres to this safety plan. Lorries arrive, pallet trucks are loaded and unloaded, lorries leave, and trucks are loaded and then unloaded. With all of this activity the loading bay can quickly degenerate into a state of chaos. This is when accidents occur.

Loading Bay Safety: Implementing Good Working Practices

Loading Bay Safety OperatorsTo avoid this and ensure your loading bay safety is addressed, it is essential to implement the correct safety procedures, and to ensure that each member of your workforce knows and understands their specific role. However this is not as simple as it may initially seem, you have the added complication of drivers and staff members from external companies. These individuals may operate under a slightly different system, and may not be familiar with your company’s specific methods. Each new arrival potentially spells a new set of hazards and dangers for your workforce; to counter this, it is imperative that you ensure the safety of your workforce during these hectic periods.

Educating members of your workforce about loading bay safety is the solution to this problem. Ensuring that each member of your work force is competent and able to quickly spot problems and potential accidents, and then handle them accordingly is indispensable. This applies to all members of your workforce, from dedicated loading bay workers to pump truck and pallet truck operators.

The Health and Safety Executive has, in light of their report, provided a range of suggestions to help companies and businesses combat the risk. These measures include conducting additional risk assessments, evaluating the risk potential posed by visiting drivers and ensuring your entire workforce is equipped with sufficient knowledge and awareness, enabling them to stop work should an incident arise. Utilising these methods together is a guaranteed measure to ensure your loading bay is a safe environment.


Forklift Related Accidents

Forklift Related Accidents: Industry Wide Increase In Number Of Serious Incidents

In October 2012 the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announced an industry wide increase in the number of serious forklift truck related accidents. The figures, which were released at the same time as the HSE announcement, confirm a 4% increase in serious accidents involving forklift trucks. This is the first rise in forklift related accidents for over two years. HSE experts and analysts put the rise down to “efforts to cut corners and reduce economic cuts in an increasingly tough financial climate which looks set to continue to deteriorate.”

forklift-related-accidentsA spokesman for HSE commented at the time: “In these uncertain times, a phenomenon is emerging where increasing numbers of companies seem to be putting profit before the safety of their employees. However this approach could cost them more than thousands of pounds in payouts, it could also seriously damage their industry reputation, perhaps irreparably.”

Many in the handling equipment industry are all too familiar with the recent death of a welder in a ship building company, who were fined in excess of £120,000 for their negligence. The incident happened as the ship building company left the keys in all their forklifts, enabling anyone to use them. The welder who had no forklift training, was then able to take one of the trucks and was unfortunately crushed between the vehicle and a crane lifting beam.

How To Avoid Forklift Related Accidents

In order to avoid forklift related accidents, here is our 5 point plan of key health and safety measures to take into account when using forklifts with your workforce:

  1. Training: Ensure that all your employees who use forklifts are fully trained to use your equipment and are up to date on the latest health and safety procedures. When doing this it is important to bear in mind that every site or workplace is slightly different, so it may be worth introducing a bespoke health and safety procedure for each workplace. This will help to improve the health and safety of your workforce far more than standard or generic training courses.
  2. Seasonal Workers: If you make use of seasonal workers from time to time it is important to ensure that they have been given a comprehensive induction, are competent using your machinery and equipment and are familiar of your onsite health and safety procedures.
  3. Language Barriers: It is important to remember that some of your employees may be from different cultural backgrounds. Due to this your employees may not be completely fluent in English. It is important that you ensure that they are fully aware of the UK’s Health and Safety requirements, additional training may be required to meet these requirements. A top tip is to provide detailed coloured posters, which are easily visible informing your workforce on key health and safety requirements.
  4. Technology: There is a vast range of equipment available to increase safety when using forklift trucks. Therefore it is worth doing research to see what equipment is available for your specific needs and requirements.
  5. Reporting: Encourage your employees to report any health and safety issues in the workplace. Ensure that you have an anonymous, easy to report procedure in place to help workers to report any accidents or hazards which may occur in the workplace.

Forklift Platforms

Forklift Platforms: Harnesses and OSHA

One of the most frequent questions our technical team here at Handling Equipment Online get asked is whether their employees have to wear a safety harness when using our forklift platforms. The question has arisen since OSHA has cracked down on employee safety when using forklift trucks. It was not so long ago when it was standard procedure to use a pallet attached to the forks of the truck as a work platform. Please note that OSHA legislation has made this practice illegal.

Safety Harnesses for Forklift PlatformsHowever what seems to be an increasingly grey area in the OSHA legislation is whether workmen are legally required to wear a harness whilst using forklift work platforms. When looking over the OSHA legislation surrounding the safe legal use of forklift truck platforms, there appears no official legislation or mandate which requires employers to ensure their employees wear harnesses whilst using forklift platforms.

What is interesting in the OSHA information is how the legislation is worded. The legislation reads that although OSHA currently has no official rule regarding the use of harnesses with employees using forklift truck platform. They have the power to enforce fines to employers who fail to ensure their employees wear harnesses on forklift platforms, and an accident occurs as a result of this negligence. Further research into the area has revealed that OSHA frequently does fine employers when these accidents occur. OSHA state they fine employers for their failure to harness employees in the case of forklift platform accidents under what they view to be both negligence and a failure of the duty of care on from the employer. This is because legally, whenever there is a perceived risk or danger in the workplace it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that all foreseeable harm is avoided. In this case that means ensuring the employee is wearing a harness when operating and using forklift platforms.

Currently there is not official legislation or mandate from OSHA regarding the use of harnesses on forklift platforms. However if there is an injury or death in your workforce which could have been prevented by the use of a harness on a forklift platform then you will likely receive a large fine. Due to this at Tiger we would always advise our clients to ensure their employees make use of harnesses when using our forklift platforms. For more information regarding either our forklift platforms please do not hesitate to contact our technical team on 01384 895859.


Drum Handling Equipment

Drum Handling Equipment: Tips and Tricks

When introducing new drum handling equipment into your workforce, especially if your workforce is inexperienced with using this form of handling equipment, you may require planning or training. This is due to two reasons; firstly, some drum handling equipment is only designed or certified for use with sealed drums or containers, and secondly, your workforce may be unfamiliar or inexperienced with handling and moving hazardous materials.Drum Handling Equipment

Your recent drum handling purchases may require developing a contingency for unplanned mishaps including spills and leaks, accidental drum drops due to operational errors and malfunction avoidance techniques. All products purchased from Handling Equipment Online come with a one year product warranty on all parts, ensuring that you should experience minimal operational malfunctions within that period.

However when introducing drum handling equipment, a lot of planning is required surrounding the introduction. It is imperative that you do not leave this to the last minute as this can both delay the use of the machinery within your workforce and encourage accidents and mistakes from negligence due to being unprepared. Before using handling equipment ensure you have fully prepared your maintenance schedules and risk management strategies. Ensuring that all of your work force is fully trained in the use and implementation of drum handling equipment should be conducted prior to an accident or malfunction and not in reaction to one.

When introducing drum handling equipment into your workforce it is essential that you are fully prepared from a health and safety perspective. Simply put this means making sure your first aid provision incorporates the kind of risks and accidents which can arise from the use of drum handling equipment.

Using transportation drums can entail potential leakage from the drums. This can be due to factories defects in the drum, damage caused to the drum prior to it being received by your workforce, an accidental drop, and spillage or tipping. Due to the hazardous nature of a lot of drum contents it is essential that your first aid stations are fully equipped with eye wash. A further safety procedure we advise all of our clients to employ when using drum handling equipment is to ensure that their workforce wear eye protection when using drum handlers especially with hazardous contents. It is far better to be prepared and take the necessary safety procedures than face legal prosecution for negligence. The expense incurred from implanting and introducing these measures to your workforce now will more than cover the potential expenses for compensation.