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.”
A 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.