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Fork Lift Truck Safety

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Accident statistics provided by the government’s Health & Safety Executive (HSE) show that forklift trucks are involved in over 2,000 accidents every year in the UK. Due to the size and weight of forklift trucks, the accidents result in major injuries, such as amputations and serious crush injuries. There are usually 7 fatal accidents each year in the UK involving forklift trucks.

Forklift trucks are involved in about 25% of all workplace transport accidents because they are widely used for material handling in different types of workplaces, such as farming, engineering, warehousing and distribution centres.

Employers and business owners have a duty under safety law to provide safe workplaces and safe machinery. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 applies to all workplaces and requires employers to ensure that people will not be injured by the work activities.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires a business to carry out a risk assessment of the work activities that may cause harm to people and assess whether adequate precautions have been taken to prevent accidents.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 require that forklift trucks are properly maintained and that the operation of them is restricted to workers who have received adequate training in the safe operation of forklift trucks.

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 requires that workplaces must be organized so that both employees and work vehicles can safely circulate without the risk of accidents occurring.

It is considered that a substantial proportion of accidents involving forklift trucks are caused by the operator of the forklift truck has not received adequate training and also the poor layout of the workplace. It will, therefore, be seen that these accidents occur as a result of companies disregarding the safety laws.

The Fork Lift Truck Association has made September 2015 ‘Fork Lift Safety Month’ with the aim of encouraging people to discuss safety issues about forklift trucks in their workplaces. If employees have concerns about site safety due to bad practices involving forklift trucks then they should make use of ‘Fork Lift Safety Month’ to discuss safety in their workplace and whether bad habits have been allowed to become normal practice. If unsafe work activities involving forklift trucks are allowed to continue it will inevitably lead to an accident occurring and therefore employees should be encouraged to discuss ways of improving site safety.

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