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Three steps to fork lift safety (without breaking the bank)

TAGS: Safetember
Three steps to fork lift safety (without breaking the bank)

In any workplace where profitability is king, fork lift truck safety isn’t often at the forefront of managers’ minds. For some, there’s a belief that safe operations come at a high price while, for others the possibility of an accident feels too remote (it could never happen here…).

But they couldn’t be further from the truth. Three workers are seriously injured – or worse – every day in fork lift truck accidents in the UK.

In an instant, their lives are changed. Forever. And so are their employers’. The fallout can put your company into peril overnight…

At the FLTA’s annual National Fork Truck Safety Conference, sponsored by Jungheinrich UK, expert speakers will share their experiences of how they have transformed safety – often at cost no greater than time and commitment.

So, with the next Safety Conference quickly approaching (NB: tickets are still available) the FLTA has revealed its delegates top three tips from last year’s event.

#1 How-to videos

Recognising that fine details from training can be lost or overlooked over time, at Heineken UK’s Hereford Cider Mills, management created more than 40 videos visually demonstrating how every fork lift task should be performed.

It was a game-changing initiative for a site where literacy is a big issue… and cost less than £100 to implement.

Footage was filmed by staff on smartphones and was edited quickly using an £3 app. One video took just 10 minutes to create.

Staff access these videos via conveniently-placed stickers featuring QR codes and an inexpensive tablet.

Once an employee scans the code with the tablet, they can watch the video and quickly refresh their understanding.

The system is especially useful in supporting new staff in their first few weeks, when they’re more at risk of an accident, and give them the confidence to perform tasks safely.

#2: The name game

A brand-new lift truck may cost the same as a BMW, but FLT operators often don’t treat them equally.

While you’d buff and polish a new car, dents and damaged paintwork are a commonly sight on a forklift – even when it’s just a few weeks old.

At Heineken UK’s Hereford Cider Mills, management named each of its trucks and assigned each to a team of employees to encourage staff to take ownership of the truck’s care.

To support staff, a cleaning station was created for just £200 that includes: vacuums, touch-up paints and cleaning products.

Regular competitions are held and the teams that look after their trucks best  receive rewards - encouraging staff engagement.

The result? A 94% reduction in damage costs.

#3 Pull no punches

Making all staff working with and alongside forklifts aware of the real dangers associated with operations is key to reducing the risk injury.

Recognising a lack of awareness among workers on foot, The Bury Black Pudding Company developed an in-house training programme for its employees who work near forklifts.

Upon completing this compulsory training, staff on foot became aware of:

- The main risks associated with fork lift trucks and pedestrians

- Things you should never do near a fork lift truck (eg distracting drivers)

- Employer responsibilities

- Employee responsibilities

- Driver responsibilities

- Pedestrian responsibilities

To underline the real consequences of a fork lift accident, training features photos of real-life accidents and injuries: leaving staff in no doubt of how important it is to stay aware and follow safe protocols.

Transform your safety in 2017

For more easy-to-implement and cost-effective ideas for improving your site’s operations, come along to the National Fork Truck Safety Conference and Exhibition 2017 on Wednesday 20th September at the Heart of England Events and Conference Centre near Coventry.

Delegates will hear the latest thinking on fork lift truck safety from those leading the charge, including the Fork Lift Truck Association, the HSE, Jungheinrich UK and Mentor FLT Training.

There will also by peer-to-peer case studies from the private and public sectors, with presentations by Communisis plc, NHS Scotland and Rowlinson Knitwear.

Visit to the FLTA website to find out more and to book your ticket online.

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