Forty-three people - including two teenagers - are likely to be badly injured by UK fork lift trucks in the next seven days, according to new findings released by the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) to mark today’s (Monday's) start to National Fork Lift Safety Week.
The shocking figures, based upon HSE workplace accident statistics since 2001, also show that fork lift trucks injure almost as many people at work as vans, cars and HGVs combined.
Statistically, alongside two victims under the age of 19, an average week's injury toll of 43 would include the following types of people:
- Eleven serious, long-term injuries, such as amputations;
- Five victims at or approaching retirement age (55+);
- Three injuries to female workers;
- Twenty pedestrians struck by a moving truck.
Someone in the UK is killed by a fork lift truck on average every six weeks. This rate doubles in September as companies take on additional staff to cope with pre-Christmas stock movements.
FLTA chief executive David Ellison believes much of the problem of fork lift truck safety lies with managers and supervisors. "All too often, the people responsible for enforcing good practice are poorly equipped for the task," he explains. "It's not unusual for managers and supervisors to have had no formal training in fork lift truck safety, and have too little time to do the research. As a result, these men and women charged with looking our workplaces are often not able to recognise risks when they see them and take action before problems occur."
To help combat the problem, the FLTA has published a variety of managers' safety resources on its website, www.fork-truck.org.uk, available free of charge. It is hoped the initiative will continue to support a recent downward trend in the accident figures.
David Ellison concludes: "Since we introduced National Fork Lift Safety Week in 2008, literally thousands of companies have made use of the safety downloads on the website, coinciding with a noticeable improvement in the accident record. Of course, it's too early to say whether this is mere coincidence, but it's certainly very encouraging - and suggests the UK's workplace managers have it within their gift to make a real difference to the genuine dangers their frontline workers face every day."