June 15, 2016
#Forkliftfail – how not to be a smash on YouTube
YouTube is many things. Home of all cat videos. Handy DIY resource. And 21st century TV station (or the 21st century equivalent of Beadle’s About at least).
But one thing it is not renowned for is a repository of health and safety best practice.
Search ‘forklift’ and the top three hits are:
In many ‘blue collar’ industries – for example transport & storage, construction, or agriculture – workplace transport is a vital element, and specifically forklift trucks.
So how do you keep your employees safe and out of the YouTube forklift Fail lists?
Forklifts and Workplace Transport Safety
Put simply, workplace transport is any activity involving vehicles in a workplace – often overlooked by management when considering safety, particularly pedestrian safety.
Forklifts comprise the majority of workplace transport over-3-day injuries (24%), and are responsible for 14% of all deaths caused by workplace transport too.
Vehicle Safety in the UK
- In 2014/15 there were 16 fatalities across all industries caused by being struck by a moving vehicle
- Six of these fatalities were members of the public
- There were 500 specific injuries reported
[Source: HSE statistics for 2014/15]
The Legal Requirements Relating to Forklift Movement
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) applies to all work equipment, including forklift trucks.
The Regulations require:
- Work equipment is suitable for the purpose it is used or provided for, and is properly maintained and inspected at suitable intervals
- Where the use of work equipment is likely to involve specific risks, the use and maintenance etc. of that equipment is restricted to people given the task of using and/or maintaining it
- Users, supervisors and managers have received adequate training for the purposes of health and safety
Protecting employees and pedestrians – three steps to greater safety on site
More than half (57%) of those who suffer injuries in accidents involving forklift trucks are workers on foot, not the drivers themselves.
While an employer may have a good grip on general site safety, they may have overlooked the risks caused by forklift movement – controlled movement will reduce the likelihood of an accident occurring as well as contribute to efficiency on site.
And employees need to be clear about site safety.
Recently the rules around employee liability have changed so that workers now face an unlimited fine – and even a prison sentence – if found guilty of negligence following an incident.
Employers need to consider:
1. Safe Site
Where possible use physical barriers to segregate pedestrians and forklift movements. If complete segregation is not possible have designated traffic routes, one-way systems and clear signage. Make sure the site has adequate lighting and is organised to avoid sharp corners and blind bends where possible.
Safe systems of work including risk assessments must also be in place. Introduce a system for controlling deliveries on site and make sure visitors are provided with site rules and are not left unaccompanied. Restrict public access and have a designated reception/registration area.
2. Safe vehicle
Ensure the forklift is suitable for the purpose for which it is used. Carry out pre-use inspection checks and report any faults. All lifting equipment is subject to thorough examinations – these must be carried out on an annual basis and the records kept for review.
3. Safe Driver
all operators must be competent and able to operate the forklift in a safe manner. Keep a training record for each driver and monitor their performance to establish their actual level of competence, and to identify any additional training needs.
Do not allow unauthorised drivers to operate the forklift at any time, including external personnel such as delivery drivers. Make sure operators have a full site induction and are aware of speed limits and any other safety rules in place.