As we continue to suffer from skilled labour shortages throughout the UK we have noticed an increase in the number of incidents in the workplace involving the use/misuse of Fork Lift trucks, the majority of incidents involving untrained operators.
According to the Health and Safety Executive, there are about 1250 accidents involving fork lift trucks per year in the UK, of which approximately 10 are fatal.
- There is no legislation solely specific to fork lift trucks although their use is covered by the legislation relating to the management of health and safety, work equipment, lifting equipment and the workplace.
- The use of fork lift trucks in the workplace poses the risk of injury to people and damage to goods or property, both of which must be properly controlled. Ensure the company Health and Safety Policy identifies the company requirements for the provision and use of this equipment including the company position on the standard of training and cycle of refresher training required by the operators.
- A number of measures are necessary to protect people from fork lift truck accidents. The operator and workers in the vicinity of its operation should be aware of its travel routes, loading and unloading areas. Specific barriers, warning signs and other physical, visual and audible markers should be installed or used (high visibility PPE, flashing beacons and sirens) to prevent vehicle and pedestrian contact.
- Some aspects of the fork lift truck itself will pose risks that must be controlled. These will include proper selection, inspection, maintenance and general use. (Annual LOLER inspection certificates, daily operator inspections and weekly recorded reports)
- Operators of fork lift trucks must be suitably trained and competent, which must be ensured by accredited training and refresher courses. Under no circumstances should an unqualified person be given permission to operate this equipment, access to the keys should be controlled to prevent unauthorised use, and in turn facilitate accountability to the individual that issues the keys to check and confirm the training and competence of the operator before the equipment is used.