Why Forklift Safety Training is Vital
Forklift trucks form an integral part of many workplaces including factories, warehouses, and construction sites. Substantial pieces of machinery you might assume that everyone will see and hear them coming and stay out of the way. However, this is not always the case, and accidents happen more often than you may realise. It is therefore imperative that everyone who comes into contact with a forklift, from the operator to other members of the workforce sharing the space is provided with the correct forklift safety training.
In the UK the HSE report that over 24% of all accidents in the workplace involving transport are directly attributable to forklifts. The accidents are categorised into four groupings, hit by moving vehicle, falling from vehicle, hit by falling object (from the vehicle) and overturn or collapse of vehicle. All of these should be avoidable. In the USA their records document 62,000 non-serious and 35,000 serious injuries where forklifts are involved occurring annually, so why are we struggling on such a global scale?
Training the Operator
The most logical way to reduce the accident risk is to ensure that operators are appropriately skilled. Not all forklifts are the same, some are battery powered, some use fuel, and there is a lot of variety in weight and purpose. Some forklifts are designed to haul heavy loads and have a drawbar; others serve to lift heavy loads and therefore have a boom and lifting gear. So, assuming that because an operator has worked with forklifts before is dangers and potentially negligent. As an employer, the responsibility to ensure all drivers are correctly trained lays firmly at your feet.
Make the Rules Clear
Then ensure that there is a disciplinary scale to match any lapses or failure to follow the rules. From simple things like ensuring the seatbelt is always worn, to giving an audible warning in the form of using the horn when people are potentially in the way, to more complex safety issues. Knowing the correct way to move up and down inclines, moving with loads close to the ground and only lifting at the destination, and understanding how the forklift can behave differently in slippery or wet conditions are all vital training points that cannot be understated.
Generally, it is accepted that over 70% of accidents can be avoided by introducing safety standards and ensuring all workers adhere to them. Forklifts are no different, and site safety should include risk assessments and ways to counteract and minimise and perceived danger. Clearly, training is one of the best ways, and with 42% of forklift injuries recorded in the UK arising from crushing when a vehicle falls, you can see how important training is. Forklifts should be fairly stable, and therefore any tipping of the vehicle comes from ill thought out manoeuvres that destabilise the rig. There are strict standards British safety standard guidelines when it comes to forklift operation, so training operators and then making all site users aware of how forklifts operate within the business is of paramount importance as injuries and fatalities will be considered the fault of the business owner, and prosecution could well occur if safety issues are found to be lacking.