In the last blog we highlighted the fatal forklift truck accident at Boss Scaffolding Limited and the costs it incurred following the Health and Safety Executive investigation which included a suspended prison sentence for the director. In this blog we look further into the safety of workers involved in the forklift truck incidents as reported by UK Material Handling Association. The figures give vital information for all companies using forklift trucks and their priorities in formulating their health and safety policies.
Forklift trucks are dangerous. About a quarter of all workplace accidents involve a forklift truck resulting in around 1300 UK workers being hospitalised each year.
Here are the key statistics regarding accidents from the reportable forklift truck incidents between 2016 and 2019 involving a third person:
- 43% of all forklift truck reportable incidents involved impact with a third person
- 65% of those involved pedestrians are engaged in activities unrelated to the immediate forklift truck operation
- 20% of the victims were co-workers or supervisors
- 15% were delivery drivers working or assisting with loading and unloading their vehicles
There are a number of Health and Safety lessons to be learned from the above statistics. Simple measures such as traffic route demarcation and physical barriers would stop most of the incidents involving impact with a third person. Companies using forklift trucks need to assess the risks and manage the worksite traffic. The key aspect is to keep pedestrians and vehicles apart and the best way to do it is by installing physical barriers. Using safety assistance systems like warning zone light, optimised braking paths and automatic speed adjustments further reduces the risks of forklift truck incidents involving a third party.
Personal protective equipment like hi viz jackets will also help reduce forklift truck accidents with the third party, especially if there are warning signs in areas where hi viz jackets are compulsory.
Another aspect of accident prevention is training. Not only does the forklift operator need to have appropriate training but all the employees need to receive health and safety training specific to their workplace and need to be aware of risks and dangers. Particular attention need to be paid to visiting drivers as they might be not be aware of the company’s health and safety requirements and may not have received appropriate training.
Ruth Wallace of Wallace School of Transport says that “the costs of a forklift truck incident could be substantial. Injury to the personal, damage to the equipment including the forklift truck and to the buildings and the loss of goods and productivity could all add up to thousands of pounds. Prevention is by far a cheaper option”.
Wallace School of Transport is a fully accredited RTITB company with over 50 years' experience. You can be trained either at your own work site or at Wallace Centre in Park Royal. If you have any questions, call Wallace Forklift Training on 020 8453 3440, choose option 3 or click here to email us.