Knowledge is power

September 01, 2014 by Kirsty Adams
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In this month’s column from the Fork Lift Truck Association, FLTA chief executive Peter Harvey MBE explains why sharing knowledge is key to improving the UK fork lift safety record.

Since the launch of National Fork Truck Safety Week in 2008, we have seen the UK fork lift truck industry make significant strides in health and safety practice. But despite these significant improvements, every year fork lift trucks continue to be involved in more than 800 workplace accidents.

Due to their nature and size, it’s hardly surprising that most injuries inflicted by trucks are serious and life-changing events that require hospitalisation – including long-bone fractures, dislocations and amputations.

But, just as every accident is shocking and tragic, each one is almost always avoidable - so it is the duty of every person working within this industry to be vigilant about safety.
 
SHARING SAFETY
The teams who have been most successful in transforming safety in fork lift truck operations are those who have been most effective at raising awareness of the key issues throughout their workforce: from fork lift truck operators to members of the board.
 
But, perhaps more importantly than that, they have worked alongside industry authorities and learned from others who have already travelled the path to safety.
As well as providing insight and encouragement, these individuals – who have developed successful safety campaigns that have dramatically improved safety at their sites – can provide invaluable guidance.

During this year’s Safety Week (22nd-28th September) and National Fork Truck Safety Conference (24th September), we will shine the spotlight on those companies from different sectors who have worked to establish and maintain safe sites – overcoming the many challenges.

At this year’s Safety Conference, delegates will be provided with five real-world examples of companies that have done just this.
Among the speakers on the day will be Babcock Marine, who worked with a range of stakeholders, including the HSE, Ministry of Defence and the unions to establish 21 standards that were developed and agreed by the drivers themselves.
 
We’ll also hear from GKN plc who will tell how, following an investigation into tragic fork lift truck-related fatality at one of its US plants, the company’s thinkSAFE! global safety system allowed them to share the lessons to be learned among its 50,000 employees around the globe.

Tyre company Interfit UK Ltd will focus on the safety issues surrounding fork lift tyres – illustrated by a case history, while Mentor PRM will look at the challenges facing managers and provide five practical ways to reduce the likelihood of an accident at your site.

Conference sponsor Briggs Equipment will speak to delegates about how they’ve positively reframed hazard reporting with a ‘Safety Gain’ programme which highlights any noticed opportunity for making safety improvements.
 
Each of these first-hand accounts will provide invaluable guidelines, tips and real world examples of techniques that conference attendees can take home and implement on their sites immediately.

Moreover, the FLTA will be creating resources that will help facilitate this and publishing them on the FLTA website as part of an ongoing safety campaign.

The conference will take place at Warwick University and is open to everyone, though discounted entry is available to members of the FLTA and its Safe User Group.


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